Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gillard Government signs away Women’s Rights

Sally-Anne Brown leads a rally outside Health Minister Roxon's office
A political statement on behalf of four women standing for election as Independents

August 3, 2010

FOLLOWING the Government’s backwards changes to national midwifery regulations, thousands of Australian women are voicing their concern.

Their urgent voices have just over a month to address draconian amendments to proposed new laws.

Collectively, thousands of voices have culminated in four women running as independent members in critical marginal seats in an attempt to talk to Australia’s law makers.

These four independents will stand in the marginal federal seats of Robertson on the NSW Central Coast, Corangamite in southern Victoria, Macquarie in the Blue Mountains, NSW, and Dickson in northern Brisbane, Queensland.

“We had no choice but to stand for Parliament. We are standing as Independents to represent the voices of thousands of women around Australia. These women are angry about the effect the Gillard Government’s new maternity laws will have on their birth choices,” Robertson candidate Michelle Meares said.

“The day before the Federal election was announced there were changes made to existing midwifery legislation. Defined as "collaborative arrangements", the changes, in essence, give doctors a veto over women's choices.

“Basically, the changes detail that any midwife whose patient wants to claim through Medicare must get permission from a Doctor for the decisions made during the pregnancy and birth.”

“These new laws give Doctor’s veto rights over women’s birth choices.”

“It is unlikely that Doctors will agree to collaborate with private midwives, with some receiving advice from their insurer that collaborating would void their insurance.”

“This is unworkable. It will not allow women to be able to afford midwives for
home births.”

After the election, once the caretaker Government steps aside and the Senate resumes sitting, there will a two-week window in which the changes can be disallowed.

“When the senate resumes we have two weeks in which to change the “collaborative arrangement” the Government wants to impose.

A similar situation developed in the US state of New York. But the law was found to be unworkable. It was repealed when the Midwifery Modernization Act was passed in July.

Each of the four candidates disagrees with the recently passed legislation forcing midwives into "collaborative arrangements" with doctors. Specifically they are pushing for:
• A guarantee that the medical veto over women's choices will be removed
• A commitment that women's rights to informed consent (including the right of refusal) will be expressly recognised in all codes, guidelines and frameworks relating to midwifery practice
• Ensure that privately practising midwives have visiting rights in hospitals across the country
• A commitment to funding and insurance for homebirth to ensure equity for all Australian women

Men do not give birth and should not be allowed to push women into this position.

The four candidates:
Robertson – web producer/consumer advocate Michelle Meares
Phone: 0439 645 372

Corangamite –midwife Sally Anne Brown
Phone: 0438 708 693

Macquarie – nurse Amy Bell
Phone: 0432 928 014

Dickson – teacher Rebecca Jenkinson.
Phone: 0439 765 633

1 comment:

Joy Johnston said...

Greens Homebirth Policy
Homebirth a matter of choice for Australian women
Media Release | Spokesperson Rachel Siewert
Thursday 12th August 2010, 8:28am

Australian Greens Health spokesperson, Senator Rachel Siewert has today announced the Greens’ policy for a National Homebirth reform package to provide women with greater choice at the time of their baby’s birth.

“We believe the choice to experience a safe and supported low-risk homebirth should be available in Australia,” Senator Siewert said today.

“The Australian Greens believe that women should have a range of birthing choices, including homebirths, in order to provide the best outcome for mother and child,” Senator Siewert said.

“There is no reason why homebirths should not be offered to women at low risk of complications, saying it may confer considerable benefits to them and their families,” said Senator Siewert.

“There is considerable international evidence showing that birthing at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is satisfying and safe, with positive health implications for mother and baby alike.

“Our maternity care system should support parents to make informed choices and enable a smooth and timely transition to higher levels of care as the need arises.