As of July next year, homebirth with a private midwife will be illegal in Australia, if legislation being introduced to Federal Parliament goes through.
How? Well, it will be illegal for a practitioner to attend a birth without insurance, and indemnity insurance isn't available to private midwives - and the government won't step in and help midwives get insurance. At the moment, midwives practice without insurance, and this is a risk they, and their clients, knowingly take on.
From my understanding, government-funded homebirth programs, such as the Community Midwifery Program here in WA, will still run, because the government covers insurance for them. However, these programs are very limited in scope: geographically; in terms of the number of places available; and in terms of a very narrow eligibility requirement. For example, I doubt I'd be able to get a place now because I've had two post-partum haemorrhages, a cervical tear and a 43 week pregnancy. Women who've had previous C-sections, are pregnant with twins or have a baby presenting breech at term are automatically excluded.
Whether or not *you* would want to have a homebirth - either at all or with any of those "risk factors" - is entirely your choice. But that's just what it should be: a choice. That choice is being taken away from Australian women.
Bewilderingly, our Health Minister, who is introducing this legislation, is a woman and a mother. Can she not see that this is a huge step backwards for women's rights?
Write your local member. Attend local rallies. Lobby senators (I think it's in the Senate, where the government relies on minor parties to get a majority, that we stand the best chance of defeating this Bill).
You might not want a homebirth, but what if your daughter did one day? Where does it end? What if all you want is a vaginal birth and suddenly the law told you that your care provider must perform a caesarean? Everyone has the right to informed consent ... unless you're a birthing woman.
Our bodies, our rights, our choice. Back off, Ms Roxon.