I know we're all getting tired of fighting, however we need to keep the energy going to stop this legislation coming into effect. Please read the important update below:
The continuing lobbying efforts by homebirth, midwifery, maternity groups and many of the general public, has moved us considerably further along the fight to save women’s right to choice in birth care. However, we need to do more, and very fast! Parliament will continue debating the Medicare-related legislation on the 7th September - the same day as the planned “Mother of all Rallies
in Canberra. We need to urgently ramp up our lobbying efforts of local Labor MPs in the next 2 weeks prior to the 7th September.
We need as many people as possible to contact their LABOR MPs to raise the profile of this issue and get into Nicola Roxon’s ear. We need these backbenchers and ministers to stop Nicola in the corridors of Parliament House to express their concern and put pressure on finding an acceptable solution. We only have 2 weeks as they are debating this issue on the 7th Sept and will most likely make a decision by the 14th Sept!
Here are the latest developments from the last week:
- Despite almost 2000 submissions to the Senate Inquiry supporting the right to keep homebirth legal after July 2010, the ALP-majority Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee handed down on 17 August, a disappointing recommendation to pass the legislation. The 2 minority Coalition senators recommended further studies and stopped short at suggesting amendments, while the Greens senator offered one solution of giving independent midwives a temporary exemption from the legislation until an indemnity insurance product could be found.
- In a meeting with homebirth and midwifery groups on 20th August, Nicola Roxon offered 2 possible solutions: 1) State-based hospital auspiced homebirth or 2) A Commonwealth-funded indemnity insurance product contingent on adopting a framework like the SA Homebirth policy (http://www.health.sa.gov.au/PPG/Port..._policy_SA.pdf).Feedback from the States show that the first option is not supported by them. The second option of a Commonwealth funded indemnity product is much more preferable, however the SA model will restrict the access to many women (including VBACs), unless there was a ‘duty of care’ clause which allowed women to make an informed choice about the risks and still access the support of a homebirth midwife if they don’t meet the guidelines.
Furthermore, this framework requires all homebirth midwives to work in collaboration with an obstetrician and/or GP, potentially resulting in midwives losing the ability to make independent professional decisions about their client’s care without obtaining the ‘approval’ of the obstetrician/GP.
- Debate on the legislation started on 20th August in Parliament, with positive statements from the Coalition and a few Labor MPs in support of amending the legislation to find a workable solution. The meetings and lobbying efforts are working, but much more needs to be done before Parliament resumes debating this issue on the 7th September.
What needs to happen before 7th September?
- We need as many people as possible to contact their LABOR MPs to raise the profile of this issue and get into Nicola Roxon’s ear. There are 83 Labor MPs in Australia, and their primary responsibility is to represent you, the constituents in their electorate. We need these backbenchers and ministers to stop Nicola in the corridors of Parliament House to express their concern and put pressure on finding an acceptable solution.
- Our experience has shown that a simple phone call to the MP’s office (the more people calling, the better) requesting a meeting to discuss the issue, is enough to drive home a very strong message. Even better would be to follow- up with a letter and a meeting with the MP. We need as many people as possible in Labor electorates to pick up your phones in the next 2 weeks and make that call.
- Save Birth Choices will provide you with all the information you will need: MP guide, sample ‘scripts’ and letter templates. Given the short timeframe, you may not get an appointment, but don’t underestimate the power of an individual phone call. It is definitely noticed! If you are lucky enough to get an appointment with your Labor MP, we will provide very detailed coaching and information on how to conduct the meeting.
- Check to see if you live in an ALP electorate by entering your postcode in the search field on this page http://www.alp.org.au/people/index.php. If you do, we need your help. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org urgently, with the name of your electorate and MP and we will guide you through what you need to do.
- Time is of the essence- we need your help NOW!
From the Team at Save Birth Choices