Dear Ms Roxon,The newspaper article was in response to changes in the Government's registration requirements for midwives, which allows a fine of $30,000 for practicing without malpractice insurance (which they can't get). Last I heard, it was still the case that women who elected to have a homebirth had to pay the full cost themselves, with no Medicare rebate or private health cover available.
Leslie Cannold's article in yesterday's Sun Herald newspaper drew my attention to the issue of birth choices in Australia. It particularly concerns me that the Government is pursuing a course of action that will disadvantage independent midwives and reduce the choices for women giving birth, when all credible scientific evidence throughout the world shows that homebirth is at least as safe as hospital birth for both mother and baby in low-risk pregnancies.
I expect that Government policy should be based on such scientific evidence, with the public's safety and freedom to choose in mind. In this case, it appears that the policy has been set largely by a lobby group (obstetricians and gynaecologists) who have long been outspoken against independent midwives but have not been able to produce any credible scientific studies or statistics to back up their case that homebirth is dangerous.
I recently read Dr Marsden Wagner's book, Born in the USA, which contains terrifying anecdotes about women being strapped to hospital beds by court order and forced to undergo caesarean surgery when they opted for homebirth with a trained midwife. Is that what is in the future for Australian women who choose homebirth? I recommend that you read this book, written by an obstetrician and former Director of Women's and Children's Health at the WHO, to compare where Australia sits with regard to the rest of the world on these issues.
I hope you will reconsider the registration scheme that is limiting women's choices, for the good of your constituents and under the principle of freedom of informed choice.
If you agree that mothers should have the freedom to choose the best care options for themselves and their babies, you can visit Homebirth Australia and sign the petition or buy a virtual rally ticket for the Mother of All Rallies at Parliament House on September 7th.