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To: Hon. Sussan Ley MP - Federal Health Minister

Protect women's right to birth where and with whom they choose

Dear Minister,

We are writing as we are concerned that on 20th April 2015 the right for women in Australia to choose their place of birth was significantly compromised, as the only supplier of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) to non-eligible private practicing midwives (Vero) withdrew their product from the market.

The loss of Vero PII affects midwives in private practice who directly purchase the product. Eligible midwives still have the option of purchasing the MIGA Commonwealth-subsidised PII. This can be more expensive than Vero, thus it can be expected that some eligible midwives will cease providing private services because they can’t afford to change to MIGA.

Midwives in private practice who are not eligible do not have an alternative PII option. As their Vero insurance policies expire over the 12 months from 30 June 2015 to 30 June 2016, they will have to either cease practice or become eligible and purchase MIGA insurance. As things stand we can expect there will be no non-eligible midwives in private practice caring for women planning homebirths in 12 months’ time.

This will potentially leave many midwives unable to continue practice of their chosen livelihood for which they spent years in training and gaining experience. Those midwives that currently support home birthing women will be dramatically reduced. The impact will be more women unable to plan for a supported homebirth due to lack of available trained homebirth midwives. In addition, eligible midwives tend to be far more risk averse. This will mean that those wanting a VBAC or similarly higher risk birth will struggle to find an eligible midwife to support them.

We believe that it is a basic human right to be able to choose where and with whom you birth. We call on you to facilitate the following through appropriate legislature:

• Women should be able to choose where and with whom they give birth, protected in law
• Midwives should have the legal freedom to work to their full scope of practice, without regulation by another profession
• A system like that of New Zealand where the government provides indemnity insurance to all midwives and provides remuneration for the midwifery or obstetrician care of their choice to every birthing woman

We call on you to make an immediate review of the rules around homebirth in Australia, with the objective of ensuring that all women have equal access to homebirthing services, and that the government supports homebirth as a credible option for all.

We look forward to hearing from you, and will be in touch again soon.

Yours sincerely,

The below listed signatories

Why is this important?

Women’s choice of birth attendant has been diminished.

Due to the sudden removal of insurance options, midwives can no longer provide midwifery care if they do not practice under the jurisdiction of a doctor, as an eligible midwife. Women therefore are no longer able to employ a non-eligible privately practicing midwife of their choice to provide care throughout their childbearing experience, narrowing their birth attendant options.

Women choose a private practicing midwife because they want personalised service and continuity of carer – the internationally recognised gold standard for the safest form of maternity care for childbearing women and their babies. Some women have a deep desire to birth at home in familiar surroundings and others simply want reassurance that they will be cared for by a familiar and trusted midwife of their choice throughout their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period.

Now this choice is being severely limited.

Birthing policies must be based on women's desires, needs and safety. Women want to be able to choose their birth place and their midwife for their pregnancy care. Midwives should have the legal freedom to work to their full scope of practice.

We need a system like that of New Zealand where the government provides indemnity insurance to all midwives and provides remuneration for the midwifery care of their choice to every birthing woman.

Sign this petition now to let our Federal Health Minister, Hon. Sussan Ley MP, know we demand change to ensure birthing options safely meet the desires and needs of all women in Australia.

How it will be delivered

This petition will be delivered to the Federal Health Minister, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, in person by Britt Vikstrand-Richards and Robin Stabler at Parliament House in Canberra - date to be confirmed, and hopefully to coincide with the Mother of the Mother of All Rallies



2015-05-04 10:59:00 +1000

5,000 signatures reached

2015-04-26 21:56:18 +1000

1,000 signatures reached

2015-04-26 20:52:27 +1000

500 signatures reached

2015-04-26 19:57:43 +1000

100 signatures reached

2015-04-26 19:48:23 +1000

50 signatures reached

2015-04-26 19:44:21 +1000

25 signatures reached

2015-04-26 19:39:09 +1000

10 signatures reached