Homebirths to Become Illegal in Australia
Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law released last week, from July 2010 midwives could face a AUS$30,000 fine if they assist with a home birth in Australia.
It is expected that this will drive homebirths underground and put mothers and babies at risk in the absence of trained midwives.
Women's groups have accused the Rudd Government of stripping women of human rights by forcing them to use hospitals. Home Births Australia secretary Justine Caines said the new law took away the rights of women "It technically makes homebirthing illegal," she said.
The Royal Australasian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is against homebirths.
The overwhelming response from the Australian public is clear. They want the right to choose to have their babies at home. They say that the Government supports women's right to abort their babies, yet wants to deny their rights to choose where they can deliver their babies.
One rural woman commented, "What happens if a mother can't make it to hospital in time for the birth? We've all read stories about women who's labour progresses quickly and they have their babies at home, in cars on the way to the hospital, etc. How are people in the outback supposed to get into hospital in a hurry? And if they can't and a midwife is close by and can assist them, it seems the midwife can be de-registered simply by going to help. This has NOT been thought out properly."
The government clearly needs to give this more thought and provide a transparent community consulation period.