“The woman giving birth has the right to decide everything that happens to her body and her baby around childbirth. She has the right to be respected as the person most invested in the well-being of her unborn child, and the person with the authority to make decisions on its behalf. These are the fundamental human rights of the birthing woman. And yet, these rights are so commonly violated, that most women are not even aware that they have them.”
—Human Rights in Childbirth website
Women in Saskatchewan have lost the option to homebirth after cesarean (HBAC). The decision was made by the Saskatoon Health Region, based on recommendations made by obstetricians and liability insurance providers. Until recently, Registered Midwives (RMs) (who are employed by the Health Regions) attended HBACs.
The regulations regarding midwifery in Saskatchewan have been in place since 2008 and HBAC is within the scope of RMs. What is happening is that the local health regions are restricting practices that the province approved.
This decision is not based on research and there has not been a poor outcome as a result of HBAC in this province attended by a RM. Women deserve the right to choose homebirth after cesarean.
This is a human rights issue and the HBAC ban is yet another way birthing women’s human rights are violated. The issue isn’t midwives. The issue isn’t homebirth. The issue isn’t even safety (perceived or otherwise). What it is about is a woman exercising her right to choose the circumstances in which she gives birth and how this move to ban hbac violates that right.
We all need to stand together in solidarity and send the clear message that this is a violation of a woman’s human right. You don’t need to agree with homebirth or even with HBAC. To debate these issues is to loose focus on the crux of the matter. The truth is that agreeing (or disagreeing) with the choices others make has nothing to do with the fact that we each have the right to choose! That must be remembered, first and foremost.
What also matters is that we stand up for each other.
“The only way birthing women’s human rights will become a reality is if women stand up and demand them.” —Human Rights in Childbirth website
I stand with the mothers and their families who no longer have the option to HBAC. And beyond that, I stand with all those who are lacking access to the maternity options of their choice.
What do you stand for?
If you support a woman’s right to choose the circumstances in which she gives birth, please sign and share this petition:
The Saskatchewan College of Midwives: Model of Practice on:
Choice of Birth Setting:
“Midwives respect the right of women to make informed choices about the setting for birth. Midwives provide care in a variety of settings, including hospitals, homes and birth centres, where available. The ability to follow the client is an essential aspect of continuity of care and informed choice. Midwives provide their clients with the information and support required to make an informed choice about the appropriate settings in which to give birth in accordance with the Standards of Practice of the Saskatchewan College of Midwives.”
Accessibility of Midwifery Care
“Midwifery care must be accessible to all women. Mechanisms should be in place to ensure equitable access to midwifery care for all women regardless of place of residence or circumstances.”