Midwives face legal uncertainty for home births
The Law Report – ABC Radio National (16 October 2012)

Leading human rights lawyer concerned about steep rise in caesarean births
The World Today – ABC Radio (11 October 2012)

Interview Elizabeth Prochaska – ABC Newcastle Mornings (11 October 2012) Listen now

Barrister to lead Childbirth Debate
Lawyers Weekly (10 October 2012)

July 28, 2012 – ABC TV News
Concern over shortage of midwives
A national conference in Hobart has heard more mothers are resorting to giving birth without help because they’re unable to get a midwife to support them at home.

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July 29, 2012  – ABC News
Home birth proponents highly educated
A national conference in Hobart has been told women who choose to give birth at home tend to be more educated than the general population.

Research done by academic Melanie Jackson from the University of Western Sydney found 75 per cent of women who chose a home birth were tertiary educated.

That compares to about 25 per cent of the general female population.

Ms Jackson said it showed women who chose a home birth were well-informed.

“They certainly are not uneducated or crazy,” Ms Jackson said.

The same research found most women who had babies outside hospital wanted to use the services of a midwife but often could not find one.

Midwife Rashelle Szoke said some midwives had stopped providing a home service because of new insurance regulations.

“For some midwives it’s becomes financially unviable,” Ms Szoke said.

American midwife Jan Tritten from Oregan told the conference she believed the right to give birth at home should be considered a basic human right.

“Two or three years ago we had a conference on birth as a human rights issue and there was another big one in the Hague and then this one here,” Ms Tritten said.

“I think putting it into the realm of a human right makes sense because that baby has a human right to be born well.”

26 July 2012 – Sydney Morning Herald
A better way of giving birth
Mariah Carey gave birth to twins while a live performance of her song Fantasy played, Ricki Lake gave birth in her bathtub and John Travolta and Kelly Preston had a silent Scientology birth.

There’s nothing new about resorting to strange birthing practices for a safe delivery. The Romans believed in giving a pregnant woman a key as a symbol of an easy birth, the Greeks thought knots in the room could prevent birth and according to an old Irish superstition spitting on a newborn would ensure its happiness.

Some of the more bizarre birthing rituals that continue today include the tradition in Bihar, India, of a pregnant woman drinking a glass of water in which her mother-in-law’s big toe had been dipped to progress labour while mothers in Uganda are instructed not to drink water while standing to prevent the baby from being born with squinted eyes, reports Midwifery Today.

“Rituals have long existed around the world because childbirth has always been considered a sacred experience,” says Paris-based Dr Lise Bartoli a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and author. “Even in Europe a century ago, we had many childbirth rituals. Rituals reassure the mother. She thinks ‘my ancestors have carried out these rituals, so if I do them I will be as protected as they were’. As a psychologist, I’m sure these thoughts help to make the mother and baby calmer and prepare the mother for childbirth.”

Bartoli, who has studied birthing practices in more than 120 communities around the world, believes “childbirth has become more about medical treatment than welcoming a human being into the world and that is sad.”

Hannah Dahlen, associate professor of midwifery and national spokeswoman for the Australian College of Midwives, agrees. “Ritual is incredibly important around birth and I think it is really sad that we have lost so much,” she says. “Now we just sort of usher babies in and expect mothers to get on with it.”

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3 July 2012 – Nursing Review
Homebirth in too-hard basket
Government inaction and insurance are two roadblocks in the way of private practice midwives, writes Joy Johnston.

On May 10 an Australian Greens senator, Lee Rhiannon, drew attention to serious obstructions to maternity reform when announcing the passage in the Senate of a motion calling for immediate action on the obstacles facing privately practising midwives. “Roadblocks frustrating women’s right to choose a range of birthing arrangements need clearing … It is time governments across Australia joined together to enable midwives to properly do their work,” Rhiannon said. Midwives who practise independently, working privately with women in our communities rather than being employed by hospitals, are…

2 July 2012 – Nursing Review
Concern at SA homebirth reporting
Midwives are concerned a recommendation to report all high risk homebirths will push the practice underground, Darren Mara reports.

The Australian College of Midwives has expressed “grave concern” over calls by the South Australian deputy coroner for mandatory reporting by health professionals of all high-risk homebirths. ACM spokeswoman Dr Hannah Dahlen said this would mean many women who want to give birth outside the maternity care system because of traumatic past experiences in hospitals would go “underground” to avoid detection by the SA Department of Health. They would forgo important screening such as blood tests and ultrasounds leading up to childbirth, she said. “Either these women would have a ‘free birth’ with…

6 June 2012 – Adelaide Now
South Australian Coroner wants crackdown on midwives and homebirths
The case for – basic right of choice
Kylie Lawson

CHOOSING a homebirth can be both an empowering and life-changing experience for a birthing woman and her family. The number of women who choose to birth at home each year in Australia is only small (less than 1 per cent), however this does not diminish the fact that birth choice is a fundamental human right and women should be entitled to choose where and with whom they share the birth of their babies.

7 June 2012 – Sydney Morning Herald
Midwives struggle to access Medicare

6 June 2012 – Adelaide Now
The homebirth right – or is it wrong?

2 June 2012 – The West Australian
Midwives in push for more homebirths

29 May 2012 – The Conversation
Pushing home birth underground raises safety concerns
Associate Professor Hannah Dahlen

April 27, 2012  – Lateline – ABC TV
New insurance rules to affect homebirths
Midwives are warning that proposed insurance rules will put more women and their babies at risk if they choose to give birth at home.

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6 April 2012 -Daily Telegraph
Some home truths on a woman’s right to choose
Michelle Meares

HOME birth is not about being selfish. It is about safety and choice. In the UK, women have this choice and it is supported by the government and medical system. In New Zealand and the Netherlands, women have this choice. More than 29,000 babies are born at home with midwives every year in the US.
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Response to Sarah Le Marquand: Cancel those dolphins and consider your baby’s health

28 February 2012 – The West Australian
Anger over calls to criminalise homebirth

28 February 2012 – The West
Bishop applauds move to legally recognise the unborn

9 February 2012  – The Conversation
For some women, unassisted home births are worth the risks

1 February 2012 – Herald Sun
Mothers have right to choose where to give birth
Michelle Meares