If like me, you are concerned about your Birth Choices, in particular the future of homebirth choices, then you may also wish to send a letter to your local MP to express your concern.
Below is a reply I received from Senator Lee Rhiannon.
Thank you for contacting me with your concern about maternity services. In response I would like to address two important issues: homebirths and midwives’ Medicare funding.
The Greens have a track record in supporting midwives’ right to practice and a woman’s right to choose a homebirth. You can read a sample of Greens Senator Rachel Siewert’s previous statements on federal laws about midwives and homebirths:
Homebirth a matter of choice for Australian women
Cooperative approach to homebirth essential
Speech regarding midwives legislation
Greens midwives report
Greens will act to help midwives
Rachel campaigned vigorously to broaden the scope of collaborative arrangements between midwives and medical practitioners to include health services, thereby ensuring that doctors can’t veto homebirths.
Since July this year, Australian Greens spokesperson for Health is Dr Richard Di Natale. Richard has said about homebirths:
- We know that giving birth in a familiar atmosphere can have positive outcomes for mum and baby.
- The Greens won’t support any blanket ban on home birthing.
- We are in favour of reforms that expand Medicare coverage and solve the issue of indemnity insurance for midwives.
- Women should be able to make informed decisions about their birth choices, and that health professionals have a duty of care to provide services that extend to all mothers regardless of their birthing choice.
We want to work with health practitioners so mothers and midwives have access to the best available care in all circumstances.
In relations to midwives and Medicare, The Greens strongly support midwives’ right to practice and will continue to support midwives through the Parliament.
We recognise the importance of continuity of care and respect the wishes of mothers to have their chosen midwife present regardless of the setting. The Greens want to see the current confusion resolved as soon as possible so that private midwives can keep practicing and be with the mothers in their care. We also support reforms giving midwives access to some Medicare funding but we realise the reforms are pointless if professional midwives can’t get access to the funding in reality.
The Greens support a reform via a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) process that will resolve the current impasse and allow privately practicing midwives to stay with their patients in the public health system without jeopardising their registration.
I hope this clarifies our position on the issue. Please feel free to contact Senator Di Natale directly on firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more specific information about maternity services, or you can call (03) 9620 2966.
Australian Greens spokesperson for Women
Senator Lee Rhiannon
Australian Greens Senator for NSW
(02) 9241 6966