Women at the center of maternity care, everywhere.
Human Rights in Childbirth
Nicholas Rubashkin, M.D., M.A. obtained his MD and MA (Anthropology) from Stanford University and is an obstetrician of Hungarian descent who was born at home. Most recently, he was a visiting scholar at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences at Semmelweis University in Budapest, where he and his team surveyed Hungarian women regarding their preferences and satisfaction with birth care. The survey focuses on many issues particular to maternity care in Central/Eastern Europe, such as informal cash payments. In December 2013 Nick returned to hospital work in San Francisco, California and is currently applying to graduate research fellowships. He is also a board member of the organisation Human Rights in Childbirth.
Elena Ateva is a human rights attorney and an activist for women’s rights in childbirth. She co-founded Rodilnitza, a non-profit organization in Bulgaria in 2009 to advocate for human rights in childbirth. In 2014, she joined Human Rights in Childbirth as an Eastern Europe Legal Advocacy Coordinator and later as a member of the Board of Directors. Previously, she has worked on domestic violence and trafficking in women issues in Bulgaria and the United States. Elena has worked on national human rights education campaigns in Bulgaria, focusing on the right to informed consent, the right not to be separated from your baby, and the right to privacy and respect during childbirth. She is particularly interested in utilizing UN human rights mechanisms for the protection and full realization of women’s rights in childbirth.
Bashi Hazard is an Australian lawyer and the principal of B W Law, a legal practice established to support and assist women and children, and the Legal Director of the ANZ arm of the Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC) International Lawyers Network. Bashi’s background is in competition and consumer law, and litigation, developed while working for several years with Allens in Sydney, immediately after graduating with first class honours in Law and Economics from the University of Sydney. Under her maiden surname “Kumar”, Bashi has written and spoken on issues relating to competition and trade practices law, legal professional privilege, and the ethics of free speech and philosophy of law. Bashi’s focus in law expanded soon after she had her first child. From her own experiences, Bashi became aware of the widespread impact of current obstetric models of care on the emotional health and wellbeing of mothers. That awareness took her back to working with fundamental ethical principles and human rights law, and forming networks with human rights lawyers in the USA, Netherlands, UK and Europe, with whom she now works closely to develop a legal discourse about the human rights of women in pregnancy and childbirth. Since then, Bashi has presented papers and keynote speeches at the following conferences:
March 2012, “Why does it matter where and how women give birth?” Place of Birth Conference (Keynote Speech), University of Westmead, Sydney;
August 2012, Childbirth and the Law Forum (Panel Speaker), Homebirth Australia, Sydney;
March 2013, Human Rights and Childbirth: Dignity, Respect & Responsibility (Panel Speaker), La Trobe University, Melbourne;
June 2013, “Human Rights in Childbirth: The Future is Now”, 5th Annual Obstetric Malpractice Conference (Presenter), IIR Healthcare Conferences, Melbourne;
March 2014, “Human Rights and Legal Perspectives on Maternity Care for the Future”, Remembering the Past and Creating the Future for Maternity Care: 25 Years since the Shearman Report (Presenter), University of Technology Sydney & NSW Kids and Families, Sydney.
When she is not working for someone else, Bashi is raising 3 young children, teaching ethics and building an ecologically sustainable house.
Daniela Drandić has been head of the Reproductive Rights Program at RODA – Parents in Action, the largest parents’ advocacy group in Croatia and the region since 2012. Several years ago while pregnant she was forcibly hospitalized against her will and given a Cesarean section she did not need or want, after which she decided to dedicate herself to improving the maternity care system in Croatia.
Today, she helps to lead Roda as it provides evidence-based maternity care resources and advocates for women to speak up for their own rights in maternity care. She co-organizes an annual conference held in Zagreb that aims to educate healthcare providers in Croatia and the region on evidence-based maternity care and on human rights during pregnancy and childbirth. The reBIRTH Conference is currently in its fifth year. She is a member of the Croatian Ministry of Health's Working Group on the Baby and Mother Friendly Hospital Initiative as well as a facility evaluator for the initiative. Ms. Drandić is also a consumer representative for the Croatian Cochrane Center.
Daniela holds a degree from the University of Toronto (Canada) is mother to three children, and during the birth of her youngest finally managed to have an experience where her human rights and safety were respected. She can be reached on Twitter @DanielaDrandic.
Regional Legal Advocacy Coordinator (Western Europe)
Alessandra Battisti is an Italian Lawyer with expertise on both judicial and extrajudicial activities, mainly in the Civil Law context. Since 2005, she has been extensively lecturing Italian and International Senior Officers, at various Defense Institutions, on a wide range of topics including negotiation techniques and leadership, governance and democracy, consensus building and team working. She collaborates with the Political Sciences Faculty at the University “Roma TRE” in the field of Public and Constitutional Law, carrying out classes andresearch activities. In the past, she advised as juridical consultant, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the field of Cooperation and Development, managing relations with several international financial institutions including the B.afD. (African Development Bank) and the World Bank.
When she gave birth to her child, she was subjected to unnecessary interventions and suffered a severe violation of Constitutional and Human Rights. The event made her aware about the need to advocatewomen rightsin childbirth. Alessandra is very committed to promoting and defending Human Rights in Childbirth, devoting most of her time to raising awareness amongst key Italian private and institutional stakeholders.
Regional Legal Advocacy Coordinator (United Kingdom)
Elizabeth is a London-based barrister specializing in human rights law. She founded Birthrights in 2013 to promote human rights in UK maternity care and has since advised hundreds of women and health professionals about dignity and choice during childbirth. Elizabeth writes and lectures worldwide on maternal rights and will be coordinating HRiC’s advocacy in the UK.
Regional Legal Advocacy Coordinator (United States)
Indra has been a teacher, a performance artist, a doula, a wall-paper hanger, a non-profit manager, and a counselor at law (among other things). This interdisciplinary approach is part of what makes Indra a Social Midwife: a term coined by Civil Rights leader and longtime Denver, Colorado activist Vincent Harding to describe people who help give birth to a new way. This term captures the way Indra works, whether it is as a volunteer helping to give birth to a new organization, or as a doula supporting a family through labor: Indra listens deeply and assumes that the organism in question knows what it needs. Indra’s interdisciplinary toolbag includes a B.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Theatre, and most recently a law degree. Indra is published in various places including the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law, The Journal of Democracy and Education, Educational Insights, and Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology. As a genderqueer parent with a diverse family of people from all over the world, Indra is committed to building “a world in which all worlds fit.”
Regional Legal Advocacy Coordinator (Latin America)
Priscila graduated in Law School at Universidade de São Paulo, in 1992. She primarily worked with administrative law litigation regarding taxes. In addition, she has drafted, edited and negotiated terms of agreements for all transaction and business types. Having given birth to two kids in a hospital natural birth, she had contact with non-justifiable C-sections and obstetric violence issues in Brazil. Starting in 2007, Priscila worked as a doula for six years. In 2012, she started Priscila Cavalcanti e Advogados Associados law firm, in order to attend women who were obstetric violence victims. She is a Masters degree program student, at Faculdade de Saúde Pública – USP, studying Brazilian Law regarding birth matters, and why health care professionals ignore human rights in childbirth.