Reprieve for home birthing

Women wanting the option to birth at home have been given a two-year reprieve from federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

The government introduced legislation in June that, amongst other things, required midwives to join a national register. However as there were no insurers that would cover midwives attending homebirths they were effectively banned from the register. The practice of home birthing with a midwife would have become illegal and they risked fines of up to $30,000 if they continued to practice.

However, after pressure from around the country, Nicola Roxon told a gathering of state and territory health ministers that there would be a two-year exemption from holding indemnity insurance. A midwife attending a homebirth will be required to tell women they are not insured, report each homebirth they attend and participate in a quality and safety framework.

Natural Birth Education and Research Centre CEO Margaret Spain congratulated the Minister for the policy change.


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