The Australian Medical Association has recently published its position statement on women’s decision-making rights and responsibilities in relation to pregnancy- and birth-related issues. A lot of positive feedback has emerged from this position statement. But what does it say?
It speaks of a woman’s right to privacy, bodily integrity, and to make her own decisions. Importantly, it recognises that a woman’s “capacity to make an informed decision should not be confused with whether or not the doctor (medical practitioner) considers her decision to be reasonable, sensible or advisable … Recourse to the law to impose medical advice or treatment on a competent pregnant woman is inappropriate.”
It is important that women are aware of this in light of situations where women are denied certain birthing options such as VBAC, VBAC after multiple caesareans, vaginal breech birth and so on.
The position statement recognises the important role that doctors (and presumably midwives) play in supporting pregnant women to make fully informed decisions by providing advice and impartial information.