By Sian Hannagan
May 2015

Writing the editorial for me has been a hard one this week, there is so much to talk about and so few answers to any of it. Do I talk about how Australia continues to take steps in making sure Home Birth is no longer a choice for birthing women? A country so close to our own, where women are systematically denied ownership of their births.  Or do I talk about the amazing research brought to us by Sarah Buckley and her report on the physiology of childbirth which, in my opinion should inform all obstetric medicine going forwards? On one hand despair, on the other hand hope.

We have so much to be positive about in Aotearoa, with initiatives like the Mama and Pēpi kits initiated by the Waikato DHB, and the empowering workshops held by Michel Odent and Sarah Buckley coming to our shores. Not to mention our up-coming Home Birth Conference and our National Hui. Yet stories about birth at an international level bring news of an ever closing noose on women’s rights in childbirth. Stories like the one in the Philippines, where the Philippines Department of Health has been banningbirth with “traditional birth attendants” in order to get women to go to the hospital and give birth. Or where a woman in the U.S has a video of her obstetrician ignoring her and without consent cutting her. Yet taking him to court even with video evidence is a challenge, because no lawyer will take her case. Because they think it is unwinnable.  They only think it’s unwinnable because women in birth by default, have no rights.

It’s hard not to feel defeated when even within our own shores we face criticism from people who would prefer women did not have the right to choose their place of birth. The listener article, ‘Stand and Deliver’ published in February, which was published with heavy bias and without a balancing opinion, paints midwives and homebirth families as dangerous and selfish renegades. This is not true and nor is it fair.

Basic human rights and the right to informed consent which should be the cornerstone of every birth, seem to be an inconvenience to many governing bodies.  Tony Abbott in Australia believes that informed consent can be coerced and that basic human rights don’t apply to indigenous families living in their communities. David Cameron in the UK is taking steps to repeal the Human Rights act, seemingly because it is inconvenient for him to have to consider basic human rights when at war or dealing with terrorism.

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole and wondering where we will end up.

Sian Hannagan our Acting Editor

Home Birth Matters

Volume 2 Issue 2

Published continuously since 2013

ISSN 2422-9946

Editor: Sian Hannagan

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