Recently, a Facebook post
from Ten Moons Homebirth Services Melbourne went a little viral, about an accidental twin home birth. The family had declined ultrasounds, and the estimated due date was uncertain.
This birth unfortunately had terrible implications for Martina, one of the attending midwives, because when mum brought her babies in for a check-up shortly after birth (by ambulance, which as per the ACM Planned Birth From Home Transfer Guidelines, "a newborn must always be transferred by ambulance, regardless of urgency"), a hospital staff member made a complaint, and Martina was indefinitely suspended
by AHPRA. Additionally, a Twitter conversation
with Kaz Cooke led to Jill Hennessy MP referring the case to the Health Complaints Commissioner, who is now investigating Ten Moons as well.
Martina's suspension, many of us feel, is an outrageous tragedy.
The majority of Australian women prefer birthing in a hospital, with routine interventions throughout pregnancy and childbirth. A small number of women, however are not comfortable with this, and Martina provides essential, sometimes lifesaving support to these families. AHPRA's decision to suspend Martina has meant pregnant families are unable to find a midwife
who will support a homebirth without ultrasound. While some of these families will forfeit their rights and agree to a scan, others will feel they have no choice but to freebirth
(without a midwife or doctor), which puts both mother and baby at increased risk. This is not woman-centred care! And it will permanently alter our homebirthing culture.
Martina's pregnant families need her back NOW, we can't wait for possibly years on AHPRA. We want Martina to challenge her suspension, to lodge an appeal against AHPRA's decision
. We want her to get (even) better legal support. We want this dangerous precedent overruled. As it stands, what midwife anywhere in Australia will support a homebirth where the family has declined having any ultrasound? However Martina's AHPRA Hearing cost her approximately $35,000, so she can't appeal without our support.
If everyone who signed Martina's Change.org petition
gave just a couple of dollars, Martina would be able to push back. For herself, for her clients, and for all Australian families who may choose intervention-free homebirth in the future.
Please help us.