HB 39 – Establish Birth Center Licensure Act

Primary House Sponsors: Rep. Donna White (R – Johnston) and Rep. Donny Lambeth (R – Forsyth)


This bill seeks to establish licensing requirements for birth centers that promote public health, safety, and welfare and to provide for development, establishment, and enforcement of basic standards for the care and treatment of mothers and infants in birth centers.

The bill defines birth centers as facilities licensed for the primary purpose of performing normal, uncomplicated deliveries that is not a hospital or ambulatory surgical facility and where births are planned to occur away from the mother’s usual residence following a low-risk pregnancy. Low risk pregnancies are defined as those with a normal, uncomplicated prenatal course as determined by documentation of adequate prenatal care and the anticipation of a normal, uncomplicated labor and birth, as defined by reasonable and generally accepted criteria adopted by professional groups for maternal, fetal, and neonatal health care.

Birth centers would not be permitted to perform abortions, general or conduction anesthesia, or vaginal birth after cesarean or trial of labor after cesarean.

This bill would:

  • Establish the North Carolina Birth Center Commission within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Commission would be responsible for adopting rules establishing standards for the licensure, operation, and regulation of birth centers in NC. The Commission would also review and make recommendations to the Department about whether to approve or disapprove license applications.
  • Require NC DHHS to perform inspections of birth centers to investigate unexpected occurrences involving death or serious physical injury and reportable adverse outcomes as established by the Commission.
  • Require all birth centers in the State to obtain a license from the Department. However, birth centers currently operating in the state who remain continually accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers would be permitted to continue operations as the Commission promulgates permanent rules.
  • Make the operation of an unlicensed birth center a Class 3 misdemeanor.


Filed – 2/1/2021

Referred to the following House committees:



-Rules, Calendar, Operations of the House