support of homebirthing, Byron Bay, 4th July, 2009
Image: © Jeff Dawson/Byron Echo
Woman’s Right to Choose
next year, if an Australian woman chooses homebirth as her preferred
option of maternity care, she is going to have a very hard time finding
a midwife who would be willing to risk deregistration, disciplinary
action and a $30,000 fine to care for her and her baby.
And this is all happening in Australia!!!! While the governments of
other countries such as the Netherlands, New Zealand and England are
encouraging of homebirth, we are going backwards, and our government
is creating a situation where homebirth will become unlawful.
We all know that pregnancy and birth, for the most part, is a normal
process of life. The federal and state governments acknowledge this
in their own reports. But while they espouse the normality of birth
they are unwilling to extend their support of normal uncomplicated birth
to a space where it has the possibility of functioning freely and independently
of a medical establishment.
Once again the interests of medical professionals is being placed at
the centre of maternity care while women and their babies are sidelined!
You cannot promote any form of reformed maternity care system that excludes
homebirth, because when you discriminate against the choices of one
woman, you discriminate against us all and you negate a woman’s
right to choose where, with whom and how she gives birth, and you deny
that woman’s right to have access to safe and appropriate maternity
Disregarding the rights of women to birth at home is not good enough.
It is not a problem that is going to go away. In fact, if homebirth
is made illegal, the problem is just going to get bigger.
We are asking the government to solve this problem NOW. MIDWIVES MUST
BE SUPPORTED IN ATTAINING PROFESSIONAL INDEMNIITY INSURANCE FOR HOMEBIRTH!
As women who make informed and safe choices for ourselves and for our
babies; as women who are not comfortable with accepting the inadequate
status quo, we say: ‘Take a stand for all women of Australia,
be fearless in the face of a seemingly insurmountable challenge, take
this last step and enact your duty of care to Australian women to provide
us with the opportunity to choose to birth at home, safely and legally
with a registered midwife’.
All of us as individuals have the capacity to effect change in the world.
McAllister, Northern Rivers Maternity Action Group,
addressing rally in Railway Park, 4th July, 2009