The ACT Greens are pleased today with a Government commitment to expand the “overwhelmingly successful” Home Births trial in the ACT after decades of home birth advocacy, while urging the Government to ease restrictions to allow more Canberra mothers to successfully birth at home.
“The ACT Greens are pleased that, after years of advocacy by the ACT Greens and many women's groups, the homebirth trail will continue in Canberra. We urge the government to commit to making this an expanded permanent option for mothers in the ACT,” ACT Greens Womens Spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur said today.
“It’s fantastic to see that, after years of Greens advocacy, a trial of the ACT’s first home birth program has seen 42 healthy babies brought into the world.”
In March 2019, the Greens called for improvements to the ACT’s home birthing scheme - leading to an evaluation of the scheme.
However, the Greens have again today called for restrictions to be eased to allow more women to give birth at home.
Under the terms of the ACT's trial, women who wanted water births were not eligible for the program, nor were first-time mothers. Mothers also had to live within a 15-minute drive of Canberra Hospital to be eligible.
“It’s clear that in uncomplicated pregnancies, home birth is a safe and healthy option for women,” ACT Greens Campaign Spokesperson for Women Emma Davidson said today.
“The current program does not allow healthy first-time mothers who have had no complications to even enrol, let alone mothers who live more than 15 minutes one way from the Canberra Hospital.
“With no advertising it is no surprise that many Canberra women are simply not aware that the home birthing option even exists.
“The Greens would also like to see the eligibility criteria relaxed to allow for more healthy mothers to birth at home – better supporting mothers and families as well as reducing unnecessary pressure on our hospitals.”
“The Greens have been long-term supporters of publicly funded home birthing programs. This issue has a long history in the ACT, as the previous public home birth program available through the Canberra Midwifery Australia was closed around 2 decades ago. The ACT Greens have also been raising this issue with respective ACT Health Ministers over many years. We included the reintroduction of home birthing as an item in the 2008 Parliamentary Agreement,” Ms Davidson added.