ACM calls for an end to mandatory detention for women, babies and families. 

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The Australian College of Midwives acknowledges the positive step that the Federal Government has taken by amending the Border Force Act 2015 to remove the gag order for health professionals, including midwives, but repeat our earlier calls for an end to mandatory detention for women, babies and families. 

Our members have experienced the impact on women first hand, and in view of the detrimental impact of detention on pregnancy, birth, and ongoing health of mother and baby, we stand with them to say: Women, babies and families must not be held in mandatory detention. 

We condemn the treatment women receive, in the strongest possible terms, and call upon the Australian Government to end mandatory detention for women and families who have the right to claim asylum, as per Article 14, Universal Declaration of Human Rights signed by member countries in 1948, including Australia.

We understand that midwives and health professionals working in detention centres are doing the best job they are able to, but women and babies are not being provided with the care that they require. Women and babies in detention do not have adequate access to facilities or standard, routine care they are entitled to. 

Women who are seeking asylum must have equity of access to culturally appropriate and quality maternity care that meets expected Australian standards, as equal to that of all women in Australia.

While the amendment to The Border Force Act 2015 means it is no longer in contravention of the Midwifery Codes of Practice and Ethics, which require midwives to report care or conditions which have a negative impact on those in their care, we still recommend all midwives working in these environments make sure they know what their legal and professional responsibilities are, and avail themselves of support mechanisms such as mentoring or supervision. 

Midwives must clearly document all the care they provide, and if they have any concerns about what can and should be reported, or who to report to, contact the ACM for advice immediately. 

The full Position Statement available below.