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Home :: Blog :: Blog :: On the Eve of International Women’s Day the fight for Women’s Rights continues in Australia. . .

On the Eve of International Women’s Day the fight for Women’s Rights continues in Australia. . .

By Lilea Propadalo (Edited version published in the Newcastle Herald)

Who would have thought that after all these decades that women would be fighting for essential rights again?  I certainly didn’t.  We have had a government that has promoted Midwifery care for women and Paid Maternity Leave….it seemed so promising.

Unfortunately, it was all a farce.  All it took was a little pressure and lobbying from the AMA and like a house of cards it all came falling down.  Women’s rights to choose their carer and to have access to adequate Midwifery care was now the decision of a DOCTOR, not themselves.  Legislation is being pushed through that states that Midwives have to be ‘signed off’ by DOCTORS (that may have no experience in birth) to be able to access Indemnity Insurance and therefore practise Midwifery.  No Midwife will qualify for Registration unless she has insurance and is ‘under the thumb’ of a doctor.

We may say that it all sounds quite reasonable and that collaborative care would be a win-win situation.  Collaborative care would be.  Unfortunately, what is being pushed is not collaborative care and instead means that Midwives in Private Practice are answerable to the medical profession and a Doctor will be able to veto a woman’s birth choice.


Adelaide Protest Rally on the National Day of Action - Credit Hayley Harris

Adelaide Protest Rally on the National Day of Action - Photo: Hayley Harris

Opponents to the rights of women have used the emotion of safety and Home birthing to factionalise us as mothers and women.

Let us get this straight right now….THIS IS POLITICAL.

I am one of many mothers that has never home birthed and therefore recognise without bias that this is not just a birth issue.  THIS IS A RIGHTS ISSUE.

Over the centuries, political powers have zeroed in on minority groups and withdrawn access to resources, isolated them and then expanded their influence to other groups.

You may think women are not a minority.  We are half the population, right?!  Yet, women that birth at home have been viewed as a minority.  Not many women WANT to birth at home so it is deemed for the betterment of all to deny that right.

Yet, where does it stop?  We have one of the highest Caesarean rates in the world and it is a huge expense for our health care system.  Will mothers next be told that they cannot access elective Caesareans?  What about access to expensive fertility services?  Will our right to informed consent as intelligent, voting consumers be made void?

This is not about the safety of birth…. the issues have now gone way beyond the scaremongering campaign of those that oppose Home birth choices for women and their families.

This is about the right of women and their families to access healthcare that suits their personal circumstances. Not all women want to Home birth and not all women want a Caesarean.  There are a lot of intelligent, informed women that are somewhere between the two choices that reassess their options based on their pregnancy’s progress.

We all know that Midwifery care has excellent outcomes and continuity of care has been proven through numerous studies to provide outstanding care for women and their babies.  Obstetrics also provides outstanding care for those that require more intensive care and monitoring because of their circumstances.  Midwives specialise in Normal birth and Obstetrics specialises in Abnormal birth.  There will always be a certain overlap of services as each pregnancy and labour is unique, and the support services required.

However, when building a house, we employ multiple tradespeople and they work both independently and in collaboration when required.  We have choices and no tradesperson may tell another how to do their work.  They each adhere to standards of practice and safety.  If circumstances warrant it, we call in engineers.  In reality, how is the interrelationship of birthing professionals any different?  We are building new life through pregnancy and have professional advice and care of our choice through to birth unless our circumstances require an altered level of care.

You may think it doesn’t affect many people, but what if you want to access an Independent Birthing Centre or have your Midwife assist you at hospital?  Were you aware that the cost of Obstetric Care is about to increase as the Medicare rebate has been reduced? What about your children’s rights in the future?

The issue is not whether you choose to have a natural birth, home birth, Caesarean or interventional birth.  It is that you have the CHOICE.

Birth is the thin edge of the wedge.  Where does it end?

Lilea Propadalo is a mother of three young children, passionate about living in a society respecting of all its citizens and their choices.  She has accessed both Midwifery and Obstetric care during pregnancies and has seen the ugly side of the ‘Birth Wars’.

Learn more about the National Day of Action – Our Bodies, Our Babies, Our Rights and Details of the Bills in the Senate

See photos and videos from the 15 simultaneous protests around Australia February 18, 2010

OUR Bodies, OUR Babies, OUR Right to decide Kevin Rudd – it is not YOUR right to decide how we give birth.

Adelaide Protest Rally on the National Day of Action Photo: Hayley Harris

Adelaide Protest Rally on the National Day of Action - Photo: Hayley Harris

Sydney Rally - Photo: Britt Louwrens

Sydney Protest Rally on the National Day of Action - Photo: Britt Louwrens

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3 Responses to “On the Eve of International Women’s Day the fight for Women’s Rights continues in Australia. . .”
  1. Suzi Scrimshaw

    I’m lost for words. I have spoken so many words about this, but they have all sadly fallen on deaf ears.
    Instead of collaborate care .. my next birth will be self-care. For I have birthed at home, and it was wonderful .. and I have birthed in hospital .. and systematically abused. I want the best for my baby and my family. I choose underground. So I can be safe.

  2. Chrissy

    Lilea what a well written article. It is unfortunate that The Herald chopped it. I hope that these words make all women particularly mothers aware that this isn’t about US vs THEM. Women need to stand united as women and families voicing our concerns about our current governments’ thoughts on maternity services.

    Wishing you the birth that you deserve, Suzi.

  3. c

    Unbelievable. I wanted a home-birth with an independent midwife but my partner (a great advocate of truthmovement) was too spooked by the whole idea. He recognised that vax’s were evil, doctors were (inadvertently?) evil on the whole, and we both foresaw his sister-in-law being induced and c-sectioned for her parallel pregnancy and we were bummed out by what she was about to go through via private. (Hellish three day labour with two different doctors (her original on holiday) and an abundance of nurses anyone?)
    But he still wanted to be in a hospital.

    I was the healthiest woman alive in Melbourne city that pregnancy, every outing was to source pure (as pure as poss.) food from markets/organic stores on no-chemtrail days, brewing up bone broths, baking sugar-free cookies etc. and going for walks, swimming for k’s at a time. Following the Weston A. Price diet (the one humans are supposed to follow for basic- yet by today’s standards extraordinary health) and drinking fluoride free water.
    (Highly recommend ‘Nutrition and Physical Degeneration’ by Weston A. Price more than I can express in words btw.)

    I agreed to the hospital in the end, mostly so we wouldn’t have to clean up but went through their midwives (which was a good choice in the end- I insisted my waters break naturally and he was half-way out- mess! POP!) but insisted, NO DOCTORS, NO DRUGS or INJECTIONS.
    The one doctor I was forced to see- she was to determine my health, whether or not it was okay to use JUST a midwife- ended up making me cry with frustration. She hadn’t even had children. She felt my breasts after a two and a half hour wait (in a packed and feral waiting room) which seemed thoroughly irrelevant, and I denied any more blood to be taken seeing as the midwives took some every visit. She looked at me like I was an utter freak. I insisted I was just emotional and was fine, but thanks but no thanks to the internal exam and blood tests.
    I stopped the midwives blood-taking after a while too because no one, not one single doctor, nurse or midwife could tell me what happened to it after it left their office other than ‘Pathology lab’. Obviously. But then what? (Personally I suspect chemtrail junk- dessicated red blood cells… it’s all a conspiracy… oooo! But isn’t it?)

    Like the other comment above, if I have another baby I’ll be doing it myself, ‘underground’, without tests, without public ‘welfare’ making me cry, feeling my body for dangerous whatever, trying to inject me with crap. I was lucky I wrote a birthplan- can’t recommend these highly enough either. The first thing at the top of the list was NO INJECTIONS, and apparently, just as my boy was coming (after a short, easy 5hr labour- three at home, last two of which flew by in the birthing suite) a senior nurse flew in, needle in hand to jab my leg. She was stopped. I think they can be sued-? Not sure.

    The birth stung a bit as birth will, but I was 100% sweet an hour later, plopping down on my butt on my bed when my brother-in-law came to visit us without a care, walking about with the baby, too excited and buzzy to nap, eventually leaving at 8pm. We would have left much earlier but we had to wait for a doctor to ‘explain’ the necessities of a vit.K shot. We listened politely to his fear-mongering spiel, but declined (to the nazish nurses disappointment).

    I’m so disappointed at humanities inability to think independently, even my immediate family and some friends, but I guess that’s the genius of television and fluoride and food manipulation. And ‘education’ and religion and all the rich tapestry that makes up our crazy, dangerous, unbalanced time of millennium.
    I have faith in the sun and the earth, and in balance returning eventually. But all balance has to swing out of control first huh.
    Freaky times.
    Get true health. Get strong, feed babies true food and truth.

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