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Homebirth doco not relevant to Australia: Pesce

20th Sep 2012
Danielle Cesta   all articles by this author

A SENIOR obstetrician has dismissed a documentary promoting homebirth, being screened in 1000 venues across 50 countries tonight, as irrelevant to midwifery and homebirths in Australia.

British-produced Freedom for Birth is about Hungarian midwife Agnes Gereb, who was jailed for assisting women in homebirths, and the campaign to “re-frame human rights as a major issue in childbirth today”, according to its website.

Australian College of Midwives spokesperson Associate Professor Hannah Dahlen, who appears in the film, said Freedom for Birth “raises issues that are relevant to Australia today for decisions that are currently being made”.

“The film stems from a crackdown being felt by women right throughout the world,” she said.

Obstetrician and former AMA president Dr Andrew Pesce said it was “a long bow to draw” to compare the experiences of a jailed Hungarian midwife and Australia.

“It’s more a comment of their political system than anything else,” he said.

“The only available process that might be used to judge midwives [in Australia] are their own registration bodies, [which] reflect peer review and peer standards.”

He added that Australia had “more models of care now than we’ve ever had”. “There may not be as much access as Hannah Dahlen would like, but it’s certainly more than 10 years ago.”

The film will be shown in universities and homebirth venues across Australia and on 12 October at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres following a forum on childbirth and the law.

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