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Home :: Blog :: Blog :: Statement from Senator Rachel Siewert on the National Day of Action & the new maternity legislation

Statement from Senator Rachel Siewert on the National Day of Action & the new maternity legislation

I’ve called on the Rudd Government to ensure that midwives and nurse practitioners have the right to practice without medical veto from another profession. I’m currently preparing amendments to the Government’s bills if the Government doesn’t change its position.

Midwives and nurse practitioners have been told they can access the MBS and be given the opportunity to provide women with greater access to midwives and greater choice when it comes to giving birth, but the Government is now trying to qualify that and effectively say midwives can only practice with the consent of doctors, I’m very concerned about that.

First we’ve seen the legislation dismiss the needs of women who wish to have a safe birth at home by initially outlawing the ability for a midwife to offer assistance for a women wishing to make that choice, then we saw a reversal by the government and the offer of a two year exemption for homebirth midwives, then the government introduced an 11th hour amendment to their own amendment that inferred that medical practitioners would have the right to veto access to the MBS for midwives and nurse practitioners. The Greens initiated a second Senate inquiry into this legislation and now it seems the government are saying that the regulations will deal with the specifics of the collaborative arrangements and that we are not to worry.

I have had many calls and emails from women who are very concerned about this issue, they want the right to choose and many want to be able to have a homebirth. The Greens support that right to choose.

Senator Rachel Siewert
19 February 2010

http://rachel-siewert.greensmps.org.au/

Senator Rachel Siewert speaks at the Mother of All Rallies in September 2009 outside Parliament House

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2 Responses to “Statement from Senator Rachel Siewert on the National Day of Action & the new maternity legislation”
  1. traumatisedbyhospitals

    I just wanted to say Thank You Rachel for your strong unmoving position on this. At the moment we feel like you are the only person supporting us and hearing our voice in the political arena. Yes there has been some interest from other politicians etc, but no one has followed this as strong as you have and is stepping up to do everything they can to make sure women retain the right to choose over what happens with their own bodies. This is not just about the medical veto though, yes it is a huge part of it, but it is also about the safety framework being worked on right now to work out which women can birth at home with a private midwife and which women cannot. These discussions are beneficial and need to occur but they also need to result in women having the final decision on whether she births at home with her midwife or decides on hospital. The final say cannot come down to the framework like the South Aust. Policy which excludes any ’so called’ risk factors eg. breech, VBAC, previous PPH of over 1 litre and the list goes on and on and on …. there needs to be informed consent and right to refusal and the ability for a midwife to choose whether her personal scope of practice will cover the women’s needs.

    I am confident that we will be able to hold onto the rights of autonomy over our own bodies and our births and stop our private midwives for being legislated against and disciplined for being with woman.

  2. Gloria Lemay

    Physician’s groups like to paint a picture for the government that somehow they know what they are doing in the field of obstetrics. The statistics speak for themselves. When the cesarean rate is 30 per cent, it mean the obstetric model is broken.

    Every doctor in Australia should have to have the approval of a midwife before they are allowed to be involved with the birth of a baby, not the other way around.

    Just as a dentist can give dental care to a pregnant woman on her/his own professional merits, so can a midwife give care in her own professional capacity. If a dentist needs to involve a physician in the care of a patient, she/he can do so easily—just pick up the phone and call a cab.

    The government of Australia needs to allocate an amount of money per birth and give each adult pregnant women the birth coverage of her choice—including her right to birth her baby all by herself and keep the money. Ultimately, the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. Making complicated laws that can’t be enforced has never served the public.

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