Some of you may have seen Clare Bowditch’s goosebumpingly impressive turn on SBS’s Insight program a couple of weeks back, arguing for the right of women to choose how and where they give birth. Independent midwives could have no better poster-woman for their cause. She did us all proud (especially her mum--seen holding her hand there during the show)!
Read more on Clare's site.
While a woman who chooses to give birth at home must pay thousands of dollars yet elective caesareans remain cost-free (to the family, not the system), we do not have real choices in this country.
Worse—now the option for a family to use a private midwife at home is set to disappear altogether.
As of July 2010, all midwives in Australia will require insurance to be registered.
Hospital-employed midwives are covered by their hospital’s insurance policy or by membership of the nurses’ union. Private midwives need to be insured too but currently no insurer is willing to provide insurance.
The Government supported private obstetricians with insurance but now refuses to help private midwives. Private midwives will have to cease homebirth practice, move overseas to work or face prosecution (jail).
Homebirth will be driven underground. Some women will birth at home alone without skilled, professional support.
If you feel strongly about this issue:
1. Please sign this petition.
2. Watch the "Save private midwifery" video at Homebirth Australia.
3. Write to the Health Minister, Nicola Roxon and your local Federal MP.
Whether you would choose homebirth or private midwifery for yourself is not the issue. This is about real choices for all women.
If women lose this option now, they are likely to never get it back. Between this and the embarrassing lack of paid maternity leave in this country, things are not looking good, gals.
(Will return to literary matters next post... Have had my father-in-law staying with us, which has meant no access to the study/internet for a week. Quite refreshing--but not so good for the blog-action. Back on track next week...)