9 responses to “Guidelines for midwives insurance”

  1. Janet

    I have nagged and warned all along about personhood of the foetus coming via these laws. And there it is. It makes my blood run cold that my rights could be removed from me like that. Of course the notion that women own their own bodies is always a difficult one for most people to grasp. Women aren’t people, obviously.

  2. Joan

    Gotta be able to refuse treatment. My view: Of course a fetus is a ‘person’ – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be aborted.

  3. Janet

    But if the foetus is a person, the woman becomes an incubating meatsock. That’s how it works. You can’t have it both ways. And once the foetus is a person, women can be forcibly cut open under the banner of “protecting the foetus”as they are across the US and in Australia just under slightly different banners. Women (should) have rights. One of those is to be recognised as a legal person with the right to expect or refuse anyone who wants to touch their body in any scenario. Birth is no different. Forced caesareans, inductions, episiotomies, drugs, they are all human rights abuses. If they were performed outside of hospitals everyone would be up in arms about it but slap on a green smock and you’re free to do whatever you like to women’s bodies with no fear of recourse.

    You’re free to recognise your own babies as people, Joan, but no one else’s. That call is up to each woman.

  4. Ann

    It is disappointing that the case raised these issues but the judge’s comments in this respect are in no way binding and he is also incorrect. The case (which can be read here: http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/nsw/NSWSC/2009/761.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=title%28%222009%20NSWSC%20761%22%29) dealt with advanced care directives and concerned a man who was being kept alive by mechanical ventilation and kidney dialysis. It was not about a pregnant woman.

    In his discussion about the right of a competent adult to refuse medical treatment the judge noted that there may be an exception to this in a case where a choice might result in the death of a viable foetus. In his brief discussion on this question he referred to a 1993 UK case where the mother’s refusal to consent to a c-section that was considered necessary to save her life and that of the foetus.

    The judge concludes his discussion on this issue by saying: “Since the question does not arise in this case, it is neither desirable nor necessary that I should explore it further.”

    Which is a shame because if he had done a little more research he would have found that the case he referred to has been overturned and there is in fact no uncertainty about the fact that pregnant women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies in the UK or here.

    The cases which have clearly settled this question in the UK are as follows:

    Re MB [1997] 38 BMLR 175 CA where the Court said:
    The law is, in our judgment, clear that a competent woman who has the capacity to decide may, for religious reasons, other reasons, or for no reasons at all, choose not to have medical intervention, even though … the consequence may be the death or serious handicap of the child she bears or her own death … The court does not have the jurisdiction to declare that such medical intervention is lawful to protect the interests of the unborn child even at the point of birth.

    St George’s Health Care NHS Trust v. S, R v. Collins and others ex parte S [1998] 3 All ER 673 where the Court held that:
    An unborn child, although human and protected by the law in a number of different ways, is not a separate person from its mother. Its need for medical assistance does not prevail over her rights and she is entitled not to be forced to submit to an invasion of her body against her will, whether her own life or that of her unborn child depends on it.

    Although there haven’t been cases on this issue in Australia there is no reason why we would not follow these decisions. The fact that the judge in this case last year asserted there is uncertainty does not create that uncertainty particularly when the question has been clearly settled for 13 years!

    I would hope the NSW Department of Health did their own legal research before embarking on expensive and futile litigation to settle a non-existent question.

  5. Rachael

    I don’t think many MIPP’s will be able to afford $7500 for insurance, we’ll see a rapid decline the the last few that are currently practicing in Australia.

  6. Laura

    Lisa, thank you for keeping us updated. I have to say I’m totally confused trying to figure out what to do to get my VBAC ideally at home in October. Correct me if I am wrong, but even if IMs bought this insurance package it still doesn’t cover the actual birth at home? So how is that any different to the current state of homebirth which most women happily undertake without insurance already? Is insurance a necessary aspect to your continued registration? As for the details of the collaborative arrangements, my baby will be well & truly earthside before November, so if the collaborative arrangements that might be imposed on IMs and VBACers such as myself are non-existent up to that point, does this in fact work in my favour? I think I just need to meet you one of these days & have a chat. Best regards, Laura

  7. Melissa Maimann

    I’m not surprised to read, “Like other professional indemnity policies of this nature, this insurance requires the practitioner to comply with the relevant College guidelines … If a midwife does not comply with the guidelines, and an incident happens which results in a claim, then the policy will not respond to this claim.”
    as all insurance policies work this way – eg my car insurer won’t respond to claims if I was drunk at the time of the accident. It makes you wonder what the obstetricians’ insurance policies say!
    Re the cost of insurance – on the one hand, MBS (for pregnancy and postnatal) will bring the cost down for women … but then we’ll have to ask them to pay more to cover insurance! Women may not end up saving any money whrere HB is concerned.