Monday, September 07, 2009

Standing in the rain for a voice in the house

I've just accidentally taken almost the entire day off of work and since the emails (surprisingly) haven't piled up, I thought I'd take the chance to post. Today was the national Homebirth Rally at Parliament House and I'd been planning to attend for weeks, but waking up to a very wet and rainy day, I was considering staying in. Except that I remembered that women were flying and driving in from all over the country to attend this event and that I probably should make the ten minute drive to get myself there! So my friend Janette, a midwife in a local hospital, and I donned our rain gear and were pleasantly surprised to see that thousands of other people didn't let the rain deter them either. Here's a nice shot of the crowd full of moms and dads and kids and baby bellies:

The rally was held to protest federal government plans that would effectively make homebirthing illegal. The Labor party introduced laws into parliament in June which proposed, among other things, to establish a national midwifery register. However, in order to join, midwives must be insured, but private insurers no longer provide cover for homebirthing. So hundreds of independent midwives would face fines of up to $30,000 if they would continue to practice next year.

The issue of course is that everyone deserves to be able to make the decision about where they will birth their babies. And if families choose to birth at home, then they should have access to qualified midwifery care and back-up medical services if required. The introduced law, if passed, would essentially send homebirthing underground and that's not in anyone's best interest. And making it all somewhat ridiculous is the fact that homebirth statistics have excellent outcomes with far fewer unnecessary interventions than hospital births and parents report very high levels of satisfaction with homebirth. So, the crowds came out to say "We demand the choice."

One of many terrific banners:

And excitingly, my friend Ela (a homebirth midwife) drove to Canberra all the way from Byron Bay for the rally, about fourteen hours! I wasn't sure if she was coming until we managed to find each other at the rally. Yay!

And since she'd come all this way and was going to start the drive back tonight, I thought the least I could do would be to spend part of the afternoon having a nice lunch with her and some of her friends in the homebirthing and homeschooling community. So that's how I accidentally took the afternoon off of work for a very good cause.

1 comment:

  1. It was really great to see you there :)