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Greens rally in support of midwives

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 9 Nov 2009

The Australian Greens have put their support behind rallies being held around Australia today in support of the rights of Australian midwives.

The Greens support the rights of women to choose safe homebirths with the assistance of a midwife and have been working to strengthen the government's midwives legislation.

But the government's amendment to their bill, to be debated next week, requires midwives to work at all times in formal collaborative arrangements with doctors as a condition of insurance.

Doctors will be able to veto these arrangements effectively giving the medical profession the ability to control which midwives can be insured and register.

"We find this completely unacceptable as it may erode rather than expand choices as doctors make decisions about what types of care to support," Australian Greens health spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

"The Greens are deeply concerned about this amendment as it undermines the role of midwives and the capacity for women to choose a home birth. We are currently consulting widely around options for amendments to this legislation.

"We will continue to fight for greater choice and less interventionist maternity care and support the Australian Private Midwives Association's call for the government to make sure options for choice are not lost in the process of this reform," Senator Siewert said.

Senator Siewert will speak at a rally at 11.30am this morning outside the electorate office of Federal Minister Stephen Smith in Perth, and supports similar rallies taking place around the country.

Media Contacts: Fernando de Freitas 0417 174 302

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