Friday, July 31, 2009

Greens will move to protect women’s right to choose safe homebirth

Senator Rachel Siewert

Australian Greens Senator for WA


Friday 31st July 2009

Greens will move to protect women’s right to choose safe homebirth

The Greens will move in the Senate to protect the rights of women to choose safe homebirths if the Government does not change its proposed legislation, Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

The Greens will move amendments to legislation on midwife services when it comes into the Senate in the coming weeks to ensure that mothers continue to have the option of a homebirth with the assistance of a registered midwife, without incurring huge financial penalties.

"The Greens' amendments will allow private midwives to continue to provide safe, low risk homebirth services in full collaboration with obstetricians and other health services. The Government legislation as it stands will effectively make it illegal for a qualified midwife to attend a homebirth in Australia and imposes heavy financial penalties for the midwife," Senator Siewert said.

"This will be dangerous for mothers and babies. It flies in the face of international trends in maternity care and appears completely inconsistent with the Government’s stated policy of providing pregnant women with greater choice and less interventionist maternity care.”

"As it stands, the legislation will ostracise a vital part of our health provision in the community. Independent midwives are providing an outstanding service for mothers who choose to give birth to their baby at home. What this legislation will do is drive them underground - we’ll see a return to the dark days of unsupervised childbirth, malpractice and the appalling tragedies that will undoubtedly follow.”

The Greens broadly welcomed the Government's proposals to modernise maternity services.

"Including midwives in the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) is a significant step forward and we welcome the proposed Commonwealth-supported professional indemnity insurance (PII) scheme, but it must include all midwives and safe birthing options," Senator Siewert concluded.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Don't Blame it on Homebirths

Dr Andrew Lavender, SA President of the AMA recently tried to claim on ABC radio the higher neonatal mortality on homebirths. As usual these claims against homebirth have no basis on fact.

Higher mortality rates are attributable to other factors. To find out more check out the following:

Good News

A newsletter from the Greens and the Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said this:

"There are about 12 health bills coming to the Senate shortly, including one introducing means testing for the private health insurance rebate and increasing the Medicare surcharge levy. I've been part of the Senate inquiry into this bill as well as the one looking at capping some procedures covered under the Medicare safety net. I am very concerned about the changes the Government proposes to homebirths - which will effectively ban them. We have been consulting widely with families and midwives and will be preparing amendments to fix this legislation. "

A little ray of sunshine - let's hope this makes a difference.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To all those in Australia concerned with maternity services

Quote by Marsden Wagner, M.D., M.S., for 15 years a Director of Women’s and Children’s Health, World Health Organisation

Childbirth is not a medical procedure, it is a normal part of the life cycle and belongs to women and their families, not to doctors nor hospitals nor the government. There is overwhe
lming scientific evidence that planned out-of-hospital birth attended by a midwife is an absolutely safe choice for all low-risk pregnant women---women without any serious medical problems. To in any way limit or forbid the choice of out-of-hospital birth or the training and ability to practice of midwives willing to attend out-of-hospital births is to deny Australians the freedom to control their own lives and is to fail to honor the central importance of family values in Australia.

In the 1980’s the German organization of obstetricians and gynecologists tried to get a national law for
bidding planned out-of-hospital birth. The German women rose up and fought against it, there was an international outcry and the effort of the doctors failed and since then there has been a vast effort to promote out-of-hospital birth centers, increasing from one to the present over 100 such centers, all using midwives.

In the 1990’s the Hungarian organization of obstetricians and gynecologists tried to get their govern
ment to forbid planned out-of-hospital birth. The Hungarian women rose up and there was an international outcry and the effort of the doctors failed.

In the last decade, the government of Brazil tried to lower their very high caesarean section rat
e through working with the doctors and hospitals. When this did not succeed, the government of Brazil started up a national network of out-of-hospital birth centers staffed by midwives which are very popular and have quite reasonable caesarean section rates.

Efforts by doctors in Australia to prevent or limit in any way the option of planned home birth attended by midwives by completely falsely claiming, without any scientific evidence, that planned out-of-hospital is unsafe, will ultimately fail as the people of Australia cannot be fooled all the time and value their freedom too highly and Australia does not want an international outcry against them and to be seen as unable to prevent unjustified medical dominance of normal family life.