Birthrights was founded by a group of lawyers committed to improving women’s experience of childbirth by promoting respect for human rights. Our work is overseen by our board. We have two members of part-time staff.
Chief Executive: Rebecca Schiller
Rebecca was co-chair of the Birthrights’ board from its founding until late 2015 when she became chief executive. When not working for Birthrights she writes freelance about reproductive rights, birth and parenting for The Pool, The Guardian and other publications. Her book on human rights in childbirth was published by Pinter and Martin in September 2016 and she has also written a short book on human rights in childbirth for the Guardian. Before entering the childbirth world as a doula she completed a Masters degree in War Studies with a focus on human rights issues. She has worked in the charity and the NGO sector, most recently at Human Rights Watch.
Project Coordinator: MARIA BOOKER
Maria Booker is a project management and policy professional with over 15 years’ experience of running high profile projects in Government and more recently in the maternity sphere. Maria was previously UK General Manager of Maternity Neighbourhood (a US based, midwife-led company developing a woman-centred electronic maternity record). Maria also led the development of the website Which? Birth Choice for Which? to its launch in 2014. Prior to that Maria had a diverse 11 year career in the Department for Business. Maria has two school age children and is also Co-Chair of her local Maternity Services Liaison Committee.
Chair: Elizabeth Prochaska
Elizabeth is a barrister at Matrix. She specialises in public and human rights law and has a particular interest and expertise in women’s rights relating to pregnancy and childbirth. She regularly advises women and health professionals in this area and has lectured on childbirth rights around the world, working with lawyers and campaigners to promote women’s dignity and autonomy.
You can read her speech on the launch of Birthrights here.
Kavita is a legal officer for the Scottish Human Rights Commission. She leads the work of the Commission in the promotion of a human rights based approach to the design and delivery of public services, particularly in the health and social care sector. She has a masters degree in international human rights law from the London School of Economics and has worked in private practice as well as in a consultant capacity to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Kavita has two children.
Deborah is a former senior civil servant with 17 years’ policy experience working in the Cabinet Office, Home Office, Ministry of Justice and NHS. She now works freelance as a writer and editor. Deborah is mother to three school-age daughters, including twins.
Julie is a consultant midwife and supervisor of midwives at a London teaching hospital. Her remit as a consultant midwife is promoting normality. Julie is a passionate advocate of personalised maternity care which promotes women’s dignity and empowerment and supports women’s individualised choices regarding their own maternity care.
Hannah Gray is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and has worked in the City advising companies through distressed situations for over 15 years. She is passionate about ensuring the the dignity of birthing women and their families and enabling all families to be supported to have the birth they want and to be treated with respect by those involved with them. She lives with her husband and three children, all of whom were born at home.
Carolyn is a consultant anaesthetist at St George’s Hospital in London, with clinical commitments covering obstetric anaesthesia, pre-operative assessment, and renal transplantation amongst others. She has an interest in healthcare improvement, particularly improving patient experience; leading projects improving patient feedback and involving patients as partners in designing new services and safety improvements. She was an NHS London Leadership ‘Darzi’ Fellow and an Improvement Faculty fellow of the NHS Institute of Innovation. She teaches regularly on local, regional and national courses, with particular interests in coaching, simulation and non technical skills/human factors. She is also working with the Royal College of Anaesthetists on research into less-than-full-time training outcomes and developing quality improvement training for doctors.
Shauneen Lambe is a barrister and the Director of Just for Kids Law a charity that provides support, advice and representation to young people in trouble. In 2010, Shauneen was selected as a World Economic Forum ‘Young Global Leader’, in 2011 a Shackleton Leader, in 2012 one of NESTA/The Observer ‘Britain’s New Radicals’, in 2013 she became an Ashoka Fellow. Shauneen has one son who she gave birth to at home having been lucky to have a home midwife service during her pregnancy. Shauneen is a trained doula and has helped a number of friends and family members with their births, these have been some of the best times of her life.
Simon was the Clinical Director at One to One Midwives and is now a Consultant Midwife in an NHS Trust. A midwife for 20 years, his particular areas of interest are supporting women that have had a previous traumatic experience achieve a more positive outcome in future pregnancies and births and encouraging health professionals to continually question what they do and how they care for women and their families. He strongly believes that promoting a culture within maternity services where women are treated with respect and kindness, and where they feel informed, supported and empowered can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the wider community.
Helen Mountfield QC
Helen is a barrister at Matrix, where she specialises in human rights, public law and equality law. She has been a barrister since 1991, and a QC since 2010. She also sits as a part-time judge. She has a particular interest in women’s rights, nationally and internationally, and in principles of personal autonomy and freedom of choice. Helen has three daughters.
Catharina (known as Rineke) Schram is a Consultant Obstetrician and Chief Medical Officer at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. Her clinical expertise is in women with medical conditions during pregnancy (e.g. diabetes) and women with complications during childbirth. She has a particular interest in women’s right to informed consent (and informed refusal), and dignity and choice during pregnancy and childbirth. In her professional lead role for doctors she strives to ensure that medical ethical principles such as the right to autonomy, informed consent and confidentiality are upheld and protected.