Home Birth to become Illegal in Aus

Ez - posted on 04/17/2010 ( 26 moms have responded )

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Our government is attempting to pass a law banning home birth midwifery, and therefore essentially making home birth illegal (unless mothers want an unassisted/free birth). It is following recommendations from The Royal Australasian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, but meeting severe opposition from the public.

'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.'


http://www.nowpublic.com/health/homebirt...

There have been rallies and marches to lobby for our right to access safe, legal home birth should we so choose. There has been backlash over the fact that this is predominantly a financial issue.

Under the draft Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, released last week, a midwife cannot be registered unless she has insurance

But with insurance companies and the Government so far refusing to include homebirths in the indemnity scheme, midwives will face being de-registered if they attend a homebirth.


http://www.news.com.au/tough-new-laws-to...

This last link has more relevant information.

Personally, I just don't get it. Many other countries have strong homebirth schemes that are supported and encouraged by their universal health care systems (eg UK, Canada and NZ). It infuriates me that our government is moving backwards on this issue. I honestly don't know if I'd ever have a homebirth (even though the idea of it appeals to me greatly). But the idea that some bureaucrats can make this decision for me is outrageous. I think the comparison to abortion legislation is spot on.

Thoughts?

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Krista - posted on 04/19/2010

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I must be tired...I read the topic as "Home Birth to become Illegal in Anus"

To which I'd say, "I would frigging well HOPE so!"

Lea - posted on 04/19/2010

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Ok, if assisted homebirths are statisitcally as safe as hospital births than I'm for them and don't think they should be illegal.

Johnny - posted on 04/19/2010

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I'm on my way to work, but I'll try to find the links this evening. Homebirths attended by licensed, properly trained midwives or OB's are just as safe as hospital births. This idea that giving birth outside the hospital setting is inherently more dangerous is uninformed about what the research has shown about the outcomes of these birthing choices. If home birth was so dangerous, then they should make it illegal, but that is not the case at all.

Jess - posted on 04/19/2010

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I don't think its fair to lay any blame on the insurance companies at all. Its the policy holders that dictate the premiums by how silly they get come claim time.

If you want to hold someone responsible for why its becoming impossible here, blame the women who have sued in the past ! Insurance wouldn't cost nearly as much if they weren't being expected to pay about huge amounts whenever something doesn't go to plan. Society is to blame here.

Ez - posted on 04/19/2010

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I understand that there can be horrendous complications in an otherwise normal pregnancy, so I totally understand why so many choose to birth in a hospital setting. As I said in my PP, I'm not really sure if I would do a home birth, despite 'wanting' to. But, the risks of having lay practitioners attending home births because certified midwives are banned seem just as great if not more.

Shelley - posted on 04/19/2010

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i find it really hard to make a decision on this i understand that mothers wold like to choose but i also feel that it is the governments job to legistate for the safety and well being of its people. i was 22 healthy fit well educated in the birthing process ect and my baby's umbilical cord severed in the womb without a c-section as fast as they perfomed mine i would have lost my baby and probably bled out internally.

How would we look as a country if our infant and mother mortality rate suddenly became as high as that of third world countries but maybe this is what will happen if we don't allow midwifes to assist and unqualified people start homebirthing

Sarah - posted on 04/19/2010

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I would never choose a homebirth for me personally, but i do know a few people who have had them and they say it was amazing!
I don't think it's fair for that option to be taken away from a woman.
I guess it must be more expensive, time consuming and possibly dangerous to have a homebirth, so i guess that's why they are trying to make them illegal. I think it should be up to the woman though at the end of the day. :)

Ez - posted on 04/18/2010

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Lea the issue here isn't so much whether or not you would choose to have a homebirth, but rather whether it's something that should be legislated against. If it's not something you would be comfortable with, that's fair enough. But do you think the government and insurance companies should be able to dictate how other women have their babies?

Lea - posted on 04/18/2010

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I think the trend towards totally natural childbirth is similar to the movement towards not vaccinating children. People seem to have a rosy view of history. Don't get me wrong, I was totally for home births and such before I had my son and hemorrhaged afterwards. Without modern technology I would not be here.

Sharon - posted on 04/18/2010

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I'm in total agreement w/Jodi. (see what happens when I take the time to read the other posts? ::: sigh ::: )

ME - posted on 04/18/2010

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After having my son, and going through all the things that CAN go wrong in the birth process, I would never do a home birth, but I fully support any woman's right to choose that. I'm dissappointed when any government takes away a woman's right to make her own reproductive decisions...I'm not sure what to tell you tho...it's hard to fight back when you don't have the money or the power!

Jess - posted on 04/18/2010

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This makes me really sad because I had my daughter in an Australian hospital and I was given 3rd world treatment. I would rather be at home to have my next baby, but it just won't be an option.



I work for an insurance company and I can see why they don't want to cover this and why they would charge a fortune if they did. I know a lot of people hate insurance, they pay for it unwillining and come claim time they decide to cash in. Insurance fraud is rife. And if the general community wants to pay less for their insurance they need to put a stop to insurance fraud. Its not a victim less crime ! (sorry im ranting about piss of crap scum who think we are an ATM) !!!



We live in a world where everything is a cash grab and when something goes wrong "someone" must pay. I think we should be able to tell people to grow up and question how a large payout will "help" them recover ! Society has brought this upon themselves. We have no one to blame but the stupid people who have ruined it for us all and the judges and court system that allow them to continue ruining it !

[deleted account]

I don't think this is a concern for the well-being of the birthing woman, it's far less humane than that - I find the last line of this article very interesting:
"The Royal Australasian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is against homebirths"
They've always been against homebirths, for as long as I can remember, and they're are a very powerful group. That group and insurance companies make a formidable lobby group, and I think in this bit of empire-building the idea of women's right to choose their birthing method, and the rights of midwives who want to offer their expertise have been trodden over.

Homebirth wasn't my choice when I was having babies, but I think every woman has the right to make an informed choice.

Mary - posted on 04/18/2010

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Carol is right. Here in America, the laws vary from state to state. In those states that do not allow home births, women do seek out "lay" midwives for homebirths...most of these are not formally educated and have no certification. They have no established relationship with a hospital or OB. This makes them very reluctant to seek out assistance when it is warranted. The sad truth is, the average pregnant women does not fully understand the difference between a lay midwife and a Certified Nurse Midwife, nor the difference in the quality and safety in the care given by them. To many, a midwife is a midwife is a midwife. They trust this caregiver to know what she is doing, and to know when a homebirth is ill-advised, or when to seek hospital-based help.

One of my sister-in-laws lived in another state when she had her first 2 children. Sha had uncomplicated home births attended by a certified nurse midwife. They had moved bak to PA when she was pregnant with her 3rd, where home births are not allowed. She absolutely refused to have a birth in a hospital or birthing center, and found a lay practicioner. She had a post-partum hemmorhage with this baby. The 'midwife' initially told my BIL that it was normal for her to bleed more heavily with a 3rd baby, and she would be fine. Luckily, he knew that things were NOT right...she was a whole lot different this time around, unable to hold or nurse the baby, and complained of feeling "like I'm dying". He called 911 against the advice of the midwife. Turns out she had retained part of the placenta, and needed a D&C. SHe had to be transfused with four units of blood as well.

Luckily, she and her son are fine to this day, but if this had been her first, or if my BIL hadn't known better...ugh, I shudder to think! (this all happened 10 years vefore I met my husband).

I personally would never have a home birth, but I do support a woman's right to shoose this, and think that the government/insurance companies should support it as well.

Johnny - posted on 04/17/2010

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I find this to be quite sad. The increase in midwife attended home births has been very positive here in Canada. There has been improved maternal and infant outcomes because now the midwives are all properly trained, educated and subject to proper licensing requirements. Before home birth was recognized, there were plenty of "black market" midwives and there were quite a few deaths. One of my best friend's mothers was a midwife before our laws were passed, and I know that at least 2 (that I know of) births that she attended resulted in the death of the child. She has no formal training and has not been licensed to practice under our new regulations. I truly fear that under a system that outlaws home births, that uneducated lay practitioners like her would be able to find mothers who would trust them with their births. She no longer has patients because we all have someone else to turn to, thankfully. Statistically, home birth with a licensed midwife or OB has been shown to be as safe as hospital births and in some studies, even has better outcomes. My OB actually does some home births because she believes it to be a good route for the few low risk mothers that she serves (most of her maternity patients are high risk).

Ez - posted on 04/17/2010

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I'm not sure what the solution is either Jodi, as far as the insurance ramifications. But I do know that many other countries, with similar health systems to ours, have managed to find a way to make it work. I know some of our members here have had home births in these countries so I'll be interested to hear their thoughts on this.

Jodi - posted on 04/17/2010

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I can understand the concern. I have no idea what the solution is. I can see the comparison to abortion, in by making it illegal, it will be forced underground. But I can also see the government's point that it can't indemnify this, because otherwise, it could also be the road to indemnify everything. Perhaps a better solution would be consequences for frivolous lawsuits???? And also limits on payouts. Maybe then, the insurance would be affordable for everyone.



Another solution may be for the insurance industry to assess each home birth registered, so that the person choosing to have the home birth is assessed on their own risk, and THEY can pay the premium for that particular case. So instead of the midwife having to have insurance, the person having the baby should be required to be assessed by the insurance and to pay the appropriate premium...... but then, home birth would not be a free option.

Ez - posted on 04/17/2010

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The problem with this legislation is that many advocates fear that it will force homebirthing women to have unassisted births, when they would actually rather have a midwife in attendance. Personal responsibility has to come into it though, and if faced with the options of an unassisted homebirth or a natural birth in a hospital birthing suite or delivery room, I would hope most people would opt for the hospital. But many won't, and there are fears that a 'blackmarket' of midwives will emerge (just as there were butchers doing abortions in garages with coathangers).

Rosie - posted on 04/17/2010

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i don't think it should be illegal for a home birth, but i do think it should be illegal to not have medical assistance of some sort at home. but then again, how would anybody know if it was a true emergency or someone who planned the whole thing?

Jodi - posted on 04/17/2010

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I'm actually quite torn on this one.



While I do agree that women should have the choice, the reality of the insurance industry and the legal system is that I can also understand why it is an issue for the Obstetricians (and also probably for midwives who don't do home births).



We are currently witnessing a similar situation in our industry, without any government interference. We run a go-kart track. There was a death about a week ago at another track. It looks like the death may have happened because Occupation Health and Safety measures weren't properly adhered to (obviously I can't confirm this, because there are still inquests, etc, to be had). As a result, however, ALL of us will suffer, because insurance companies will re-ananlyse the risk, and our insurance will probably go up another $5000 a year. That is food out of my children's mouths and I'm really crapped off that someone else can breach safety, but we pay for it. It happened a couple of years ago with another death too. It only takes one cowboy to make it difficult for everyone, and we all pay for it. Insurance IS becoming unaffordable. Our litigious society is making it difficult. We have a lawsuit going against us right now. Not our fault, but it has still cost us badly, and it will drag out for years.



Blame the insurance companies, blame those who can't accept natural consequences and have to sue. Once upon a time, an unsuccessful birth was commonplace. It is incredibly unfortunate, but it happens. And VERY occasionally it is someone else's fault. But most of the time, it is no-one's fault, it is just a natural consequence. But people still sue, regardless. They feel the NEED to have someone to blame. Unfortunately, a home birth doesn't have the full backup that a hospital birth has, so if it goes wrong, it is less likely to be salvageable. And whether a lawsuit is successful or not, it is still bloody expensive, but EVERYONE pays for it, not just the midwife in attendance.



I've probably gone off track here (mainly because I'm kind of on the white line on this one and can see both sides and no real solution) so sorry!!

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