In December 2021, the Government published an open consultation as part of their plans to reform the Human Rights Act (Human Rights Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights). As the UK charity that champions respectful care during pregnancy and childbirth by protecting human rights, we have submitted a response to the consultation.
Within the consultation, the Government makes ‘far-reaching’ proposals for reform, including replacing the Human Rights Act with a modern Bill of Rights, one which they say ‘reinforces our freedoms under the rule of law, but also provides a clearer demarcation of the separation of powers between the courts and Parliament’.
We welcome the opportunity to explain the potential for these proposals to seriously undermine our mission to ensure everyone receives the respect and dignity they deserve in pregnancy and childbirth. Most notably, we are concerned about the proposal to introduce a separate permission stage for human rights claims where claimants would need to demonstrate that they have suffered a significant disadvantage; the proposed measures that would reduce further the ability of individuals, and of organisations such as Birthrights, and other charities/NGOS to hold public bodies to account, and the changing of rights in order to tackle deportation as an issue (which may have unforeseen and adverse consequences for the rights of a family to be together during labour and birth).
You can read our response in full here. The consultation closed for responses on 8 March.