Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Just to clarify on my prior post - I am NOT among those who use the description of 'sheep' to describe women choosing hospital based births, inferring that women choosing a location or options different from my personal choices are somehow or something less, that women who choose hospitals or intervention deserve what they get akin to a rape victim who has worn a short skirt asking for it, that they deserve any less than a beautiful and respectful birth, that it's not possible to have a 'good' birth in a hospital or impossible unless you are just lucky.

I feel no one has the right or ability to determine or judge what is right for another person or how they ought to value, view, feel, interpret or experience all the myriad things that are weighed up in such a profoundly personal choice as where, how and who to birth with. That is precisely what I am decrying.

I am also not addressing where women are bullied, are acted upon against their wills or without their permission. I am speaking exclusively to the fact that women have the right to elect for procedures and options in hospital births even though they also carry risks, some of which are potentially severe, without their unborn child's rights being used to over-ride their right to choice. While it can be argued in some cases these can't be real choices because many are not made with full information, as all any of us can do is make the choices based on the information we have at that point in time, I am going with the word choice for lack of a better one.

I support the right to full, accurate and balanced information for women on their range of choices and the risks associated with each absolutely. There is an imbalance of it currently widely available and I would like to see that remedied. Likewise I support the right to be treated with inherent respect and dignity no matter what or where. I believe a shift in the hospital structure and policy to allow for better support for women and staff to have the resources, training and support to do so is desperately necessary.

This sum of my post is this:
If homebirth is not the huge risk that the uninformed often suppose and birthing in a hospital is not a guarantee for a safe birth - in some cases in spite of the hospital and in some cases because of it and besides location other options a woman has the right to choose on behalf of her unborn also carry risks and the nature of some of those the argument that a hospital is the only acceptable place to birth because it is the only safe or safest place to birth does not make sense.

Likewise every time a mother chooses a hospital or birthing center, chooses which pregnancy tests to accept or decline and chooses which management options she wants or does not want, she is also making choices on behalf of the baby which have risks associated with it. If the rights of the baby are not then an issue or suggested to trump the mothers right to choice for hospital based births, WHY are they an issue and argument against the right to choice when the location and choice in homebirth? If the woman choosing hospital has the right to choose for herself and on behalf of her unborn, the right must then logically extend to the other as well.

It also makes me wonder how many have thought through the consequences of what they suggest - that if we are going to argue the baby's rights as determined by some other party dictate the acceptable course of action then that must extend to all births not just homebirths. I'm not sure about anyone else but the idea of an arbitrary third party dictating what are acceptable risks for me, my body and my baby and being able to force procedures on me under the guise of "baby's rights" makes my blood run cold. It should be as it is - up to us as individuals to weigh the potential costs and benefits as relates to ourselves and our situations and determine which we as a mother-baby unit want, need, are comfortable with and feel necessary for us personally. While Nicola Roxton's decision is positive in a number of ways, it is despicable that it brings those benefits at the cost of removing the rights of women to choose independent midwifery (for homebirths or otherwise) and removing the rights of midwives to private practice.

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