A woman’s right to choose

I saw a documentary last night called the Face of Birth. It highlights issues of maternal care in Australia, particularly homebirth and women’s right to choose what kind of a birth they’d like.

I completely understand why some women want to give birth in hospitals.

And I completely understand why some women do not.

There are compelling and legitimate reasons on either side of the fence.

Here in Australia, the “medicine” is socialized, meaning the goverment pays for it. (To an extent. Well, we pay our taxes and then they pay for our health care.)

I think it’s genius, socialized medicine. I mean seriously… public health care makes so much sense. (But that’s another post entirely.)

For me this means that i’ve had two babies – one by c-section, one by VBAC (vaginal birth after c/s) – and I’ve not paid a dime for any pre- or postnatal care, birth, or hospital stays. (This includes numerous “special” tests with Judah, both while in the womb and after he was born.) And with both babies I’ve received very good care that I will always be thankful for.

As an American I find this amazing and almost miraculous compared to our current system.

But as the wonder of socialized medicine is becoming more and more normal to me, I’m also realizing that Australia, too, has flaws in the “system.”

And stipulatons on how and where to give birth is an area that really does desperately need updating and improving.

Australia, like many developed nations, has a good health care system. But it is not great. There needs to be reforms so that women can give birth in the most natural, empowering environments possible with skilled attendents to assist and provide the “medical” care that is needed. (This is even more highlighted in indigenous areas where women are subject to some horrible requirements that would make any informed person shudder. But again, that’s also another post.)

We need to empower women to understand birth – the importance of it for both child AND mother – and then enable them to pursue the kind of childbirth that best serves their family and future.

Regardless of whether you think homebirth is for you or not, I pose the question:

Does a woman have the right to choose how to embark on this most precious and life-altering rite of passage? And isn’t what’s best for the baby intertwined with what’s best for the mother?

Or perhaps an even bigger question: Isn’t God big enough to design a process that serves mother and child simultaneously???



Q for you: Have you ever considered homebirth? What about a woman’s right to choose what type of birth she will have?



p.s. I will certainly explore some of these subjects further, probably both here and with more time and consideration on my other blog. For now, this was all I could pound out in my five minutes.


Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.
Adriel also writes (using spell check!) on motherhood and parenting at The Mommyhood Memos

About Adriel Booker

Author, speaker, advocate, and non-prof director. Happily married city-lover, mother, immigrant, and emoji enthusiast in a city by the sea. ✌️ View all posts by Adriel Booker

3 responses to “A woman’s right to choose

  • Sara Miller

    With my firstborn, I delivered at a freestanding water birth center in Oregon. Insurance covered, but there were still some out-of-pocket expenses we had to pay.

    With the second, I had a home birth in Florida – where there is a STATE MANDATE that insurance companies are required to cover midwifery care. All total, I paid a $40 copay to have 9 months of prenatal care, all tests, and a phenomenal home birth including home visits.

    Once we experienced home birth, there was no going back. #3 and #4 were born at home in Oklahoma, as will be #5 this summer, and I wouldn’t – perhaps even COULD NOT – have it any other way. These last three births at home have cost us straight out of pocket around $3000 each. Yes, that’s a lot – but, even with our current health insurance, I checked and a hospital birth with ZERO complications would cost us around $10,000. It is much more economical to birth at home and much healthier, as we run a lot less risk of any intervention (barring a true medical emergency that would require transfer to a hospital.)

    I HATE the way our medical environment is here in the US. I put off practical appointments, like dental and vision and chiropractic, because we just can’t “afford” it at that moment, which is another reason why I work really hard to feed my family healthy food with lots of fruits/veg and why I’m a wellness educator and WHY we are so serious about preventative wellness, including vitamins. It helps soooo much, because we are rarely sick. But those things like glasses and teeth cleaning still need to happen – and because I pay my health insurance premiums, that often takes all the cash I have. It really stinks in the US that folks are going bankrupt due to medical bills. Your socialist medicine in AU sounds heavenly! I would love to hear more about how it works…

  • Jessica (@mommyhoodnxtrt)

    Yes, mothers should have the right to choose how they’d like to embark on this life-altering journey. In America, I think the unfortunate part is that the money factor is what disables so many women from having access to the kind of care that they truly deserve or may want. With insurance, I can go to a midwife or an OB of my choosing. I still have to pay for some of my care, but my insurance helps a lot. Without insurance, I’m not sure I’d have such privileges. And that’s unfortunate.

  • Greta

    Yes, mothers should have the choice. And yet, I can’t help but be extremely envious of not having to pay a dime. We JUST finished paying for the hospital stay/delivery of our 2nd son last month. $126/mo for 3+ years sucks. As does the $1000 annual co-pay and the $12,000 annual cost of insurance for our family of 4.

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