Having a baby in Australia: women’s business, risky business, or big business?
Donnellan-Fernandez, Roslyn Elizabeth
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This paper seeks to explore the haphazard impact of existing maternity service arrangements and interests on women both as non-homogenous individuals and as groups, to stimulate consideration of new possibilities. Toward these objectives the paper asks three rhetorical questions: Is having a baby in Australia women’s business? Is having a baby in Australia risky business? Or, is having a baby in Australia integrally connected to big business, including protection of entrenched financial interests in the health sector? It is asserted that the social construction of pregnancy, childbearing and mothering, including service ‘choices’ and current arrangements available for having a baby has much to do with the intersection of each of these three questions. Further, that focusing the lens of equity collectively upon these issues can provide an integrated consideration of what is a confused picture for many women and their families. This analysis may also assist current and future governments in planning and implementing maternal health policy based on sustainable service and system reform that improves equity and access for all women and their babies in Australia.