Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Countdown - 6 weeks...

... til 1 July.

Today I was with a colleague in a cafe in Middle Camberwell when a doctor who is well known for his ongoing support of homebirth came up to our table to say hello. He asked us, "What should I tell these women who are wondering if they will be able to have a homebirth later this year?"

My colleague and I were happy to reassure him that independent midwives would be continuing to offer home birth privately after 1 July.

We had just come from a MiPP (Midwives in Private Practice) meeting. A colleague presented current information about the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women CEDAW, and developments in the response of key women's groups to our government's maternity 'reforms'.

In recent years many midwives and birth activists have attempted, apparently in vain, to argue the midwife's right to carry out our professional business on a level playing field under Competition Policy. It now appears that the human rights aspects of home birth need to be investigated and promoted.

Is there a human rights argument in the choice of place of birth?

Is our government failing in its human rights commitments, as a signatory to conventions such as CEDAW, by maintaining the state-sanctioned discrimination against women who plan to give birth in their home?

Can you think of any other natural, physiological function of the human body for which we experience discrimination that seeks to force all to follow government-mandated management in hospital? What would our society do if similar discrimination was enacted for a uniquely MALE function?

In a previous post I reflected on the suggestion "that the Austrlian constitution has clauses that can be used in defence of women's rights to homebirth as a "natural law right".

The legislation denies a woman’s natural law right to give birth under natural physiological conditions, in the place of her choosing.

The only requirement for physiological birth is that the woman is able to proceed without medical or surgical assistance. Since pregnancy and birth are truly natural states, and are not, per se, reliant on outside management, it is reasonable to protect the woman’s natural law right to maintain personal control over such decisions, including if and when she goes to hospital.

I want to stress the distinction between physiological birth, and managed maternity care. I would not argue that there is any natural law right to induction of labour, or to medical analgesia or anaesthesia, or to surgical birth or any of the other items that are common in maternity services in this country and throughout the developed world. These are no more our 'right' than is dental care or surgery to remove an inflamed appendix. The only requirement for physiological birth is that the woman is intentional about doing the work of labour and birthing herself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thankyou for your comment, which will be emailed to me for moderation.