Home births under threat

October 28, 2011

While other countries expand access to homebirth we shut it down. It really leaves me concerned about my daughter’s future options: a medicalised birth or a secret homebirth with no midwife in attendance. Neither is attractive, nor optimal.

Activists have fought so hard to retain access to homebirth, while the AMA pushes harder to have access limited. Unfortunately the medical lobby’s voice is the more powerful of the two and they have swayed our health minister in their favour. I find it quite ironic that it was a female Health minister who finally conceded and gave them what they’d lobbied for decades. Well done Nicola Roxon. Sadly I don’t get any sense that she even begins to understand how she has betrayed women.

Once again we find ourselves free to choose what has been chosen for us. Ah democracy in action. Don’t you just love it? At this stage I’m ready to go live in some fascist state somewhere. At least they are overt about the control of the population and don’t pretty it up with pat phrases about “improved access” and “increase in options” while they are systemically removing them.

Home births under threat

The Maitland Mercury
28 Oct, 2011 04:00 AM

Maitland women choosing to give birth at home will be forced to deliver their babies under a cloud of secrecy if government legislation is not changed.

It became illegal in July 2010 for a registered midwife to attend a home birth after a Senate committee recommended that all home birth midwives be insured.

Since then the number of private midwives attending births has dwindled from 200 in 2009 to just 90 in 2011.

Homebirth Australia is now calling on the federal government to ensure Australian women can continue to access the care of a registered midwife at home and not be abandoned by the government for their choice of maternity care.

Ashtonfield woman Lucy Smith, 27, gave birth to son Xavier at home in February 2010 under the care of the Belmont Birthing Centre.

She was adamant she did not want to give birth in hospital.

“I always knew I wanted to have a home birth and I really didn’t want to do it any other way,” Ms Smith said.

“The government really has no right in taking this choice away from women because this is our decision to make.

“If I had to choose between giving birth in hospital and delivering at home without a midwife then I would do it alone.”

Homebirth Australia spokesperson Michelle Meares said reforms to the maternity care system have meant many women will no longer have access to midwives.

“But many will still choose to birth at home,” Ms Meares said.“In the last two years, the impact of the maternity reforms has lead to a deterioration in options for women, greater risk for women and babies and a move from quality primary care to expensive secondary care.

“Australian women who make the safe legitimate choice to birth at home are asking – will I have to hide to give birth.”

This latest campaign coincides with Homebirth Awareness Week. Figures show home birth has increased by 14.9 per cent in Australia.