Wonderful memories from HRiC India 2017
Human Rights in Childbirth
Everybody working in maternity care shares a common goal: healthy mothers, and healthy babies. Governments, NGOs, and providers are working around the world to help ensure that every woman and baby survives birth. But more is at stake in pregnancy and childbirth than survival alone, and obstetric models of care can either protect or violate the fundamental human rights of the women they serve. The care that women receive during pregnancy and childbirth intersects with the rights to physical integrity, self-determination, privacy, family life, and spiritual freedom.
Women do not lose their basic human rights once they become pregnant. And yet, across the globe, women’s human rights are compromised and violated around childbirth.
Examinations, interventions and procedures that pose risks to both mothers and their babies are routinely performed without informed consent, or through coerced compliance via threats or fear. When women come out of childbirth with post-partum PTSD from disrespect, abuse, or obstetric violence, the goal of a “healthy mother and healthy baby” has not been met. In many places in the world, race or ethnic background plays a large role in the care women and families receive. Often times poor, working class, minority, or marginalized peoples receive no care or insufficient care in maternity settings, making maternal and infant mortality higher in these groups. HRiC recognizes these disparities, and works to create change in especially the most marginalized communities.
Every woman has the right to access the healthcare support that she, personally, needs for a healthy birth.
Every woman has the right to be respected as the decision-maker about her own care and her baby’s care. Every healthcare system should be equipped to meet women’s individual needs and personal decisions around childbirth. HRiC is committed to supporting the efforts of individuals and organizations working all over the world to promote the fundamental human rights of pregnant people.
Human Rights in Childbirth
The Human Rights in Childbirth Global Conference in India will be an event that addresses how maternity care can optimize maternal and infant health outcomes in a respectful, culturally sensitive, human rights framework. The Conference will convene a vibrant and interdisciplinary group of maternity care providers, public health professionals, lawyers, activists, policy makers and reproductive justice advocates and others interested in advancing respectful and evidence-based care. Collaborators and participants will join the front edge of global efforts to eliminate disrespect and abuse in maternity care and ensure non-discriminatory access to care for every woman and baby.
Join us on October 19th in Strasbourg, France, the home of the European Court of Human Rights, for this one-day Human Rights in Childbirth: Europe Summit.
Human Rights in Childbirth Europe Summit 2016
October 19th, 2016
On May 26th, HRiC will partner with Black Women Birthing Justice, Mamas of Color Rising, and the Association for Wholistic Maternal and Newborn Health to host the 2nd Human Rights in Childbirth: US Summit. This event will convene grassroots activists, legal advocates, and healthcare providers working across the United States to ensure that the human rights of every birthing person are respected and upheld in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Attendees will have the unprecedented opportunity to contribute to the first Human Rights in Childbirth U.S. Consensus Statement, a document that will clearly state the human rights violations currently occurring in U.S. maternity care as well as laying a roadmap toward community-based, woman-centered, collaborative care that optimizes healthy outcomes within a respectful, human rights framework.
On July 30-31, 2015, the Human Rights in Childbirth Africa Summit convened speakers from a range of disciplines engaged with the human rights of birthing women, including lawyers, doctors, midwives, community health workers, researchers, and journalists. Speakers described evidence and advocacy efforts in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, and pertained to issues facing maternity care systems throughout Africa.
Over the two days of the Summit, attendees broke out into discussion groups, first with colleagues from their field, and then in multi-disciplinary groups. The discussions focused on situating the experiences of maternity care reported by African women in a human rights framework, and envisioning what African maternity care systems will look like when they put the rights and needs of women and communities at the center of policy and practice. In open plenary discussion, Summit attendees then distilled the issues and principles that arose in the discussion groups into a Consensus Statement that expressed the shared concerns, values, and solutions of the assembly.
On the 16th and 17th of April, 2015, RODA had the immense pleasure of co-hosting the Human Rights in Childbirth Eastern Europe Conference. Human Rights in Childbirth is an international NGO based in The Hague that researches and promotes the recognition of fundamental human rights in maternity care systems and practices.
In November 2013, HRiC convened consumers, birth professionals, and lawyers in Blankenberg, Belgium, from countries across Europe, who are engaged in lawsuits that evoke the 2010 case of Ternovszky v. Hungary. Conference participants worked toward the creation of a road map for political action capable of making human rights a reality for birthing women everywhere.
In April 2013, consumers, health care providers and lawyers gathered in Eugene, Oregon to discuss the implications of restricting a woman’s right to decide the circumstances of her birth.
Our convergence at The Hague in the Netherlands to discuss women’s rights in childbirth in 2012 marked a pivotal moment in the formation of HRiC. Consumers, activists, health care providers and internationally acclaimed speakers all joined together around the common goal of increasing awareness of and mobilizing for change in the birthing system. A large part of the film, “Freedom for Birth” centered around the conference, and the joint effort moved the message of HRiC to all corners of the globe. Please read the articles below, for a glimpse into the conference at The Hague.
Human Rights in Childbirth
World Mapping Project
A global perspective on the state of maternity care, statistics and laws, including global organizations and HRIC contacts.
The latest research has described the maternity care in Italy as excessively medicalized and directive, disregarding national and international guidelines and showing strong territorial and social disparities. In their prenatal care, 82% of women are assisted by a gynecologist, 3% by a midwife and 15% by “family counseling centers” (consultori familiari). Only 30% (North) and 22% (South) of women search for public assistance during pregnancy while the rest ask for private health services1. The general perception of Italian women is that the public service is less good then private. While this may be quite true when we consider comfort, waiting time, latest technological equipment and politeness, the outcomes of private pregnancy healthcare by gynecologists and childbirth in private hospitals show much poorer results in exchange of much higher expenses. National Healthcare Service offers free pregnancy care and childbirth assistance to all citizens, including illegal immigrants