Protecting human rights in childbirth

Policing Pregnancy

Thanks to all of you who joined us for a packed day at the Royal College of Physicians on 13th April. The event was attended by over 100 midwives, advocates, academics, policy makers, journalists, and others concerned about the expansion of risk thinking and its effects for the autonomy and choice-making ability of women.

The Policing Pregnancy conference was collaboration between British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Birthrights and the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies and was a chance to look at the impact of risk culture across the spectrum of pregnancy and birth decisions.

Impact on Women

Speaking in advance of the conference Birthrights chief executive Rebecca Schiller said:

 “We need to stop viewing pregnant women as hostile environments. The experience of childbirth can impact on women for a lifetime: setting them up positively for motherhood or leaving a traumatic legacy. Women’s fundamental human rights are at stake at this vulnerable time. All too often they are coerced in to making decisions they later regret. Given access to unbiased information, evidence and support, women can interpret and choose risks for themselves and their babies. For some the lowest risk on paper may not be the best option. There is no choice to be made between a woman and foetus. A woman and the baby she grows are best served by allowing her to make her own decisions with appropriate supportive care and evidence based information.”

You can hear Farah Diaz-Tello (of National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s), keynote lecture here along with slides from all the day’s presentations.

A human rights approach

Read articles based on the themes of the conference in The Conversation, the Daily Mail, and spiked. Additional press coverage is available here.