Birthrights was founded in 2013 by human rights barrister, Elizabeth Prochaska, and Rebecca Schiller, a doula and writer on birth, parenting and women’s rights. Our work is overseen by our expert board, including senior health professionals, policy-makers and lawyers. We currently have five members of part-time staff.
Amy Gibbs is a health and human rights campaigner and senior leader with over 12 years experience in national charities, local government and Parliament. Throughout her career she has led teams and organisations to secure legal, policy and practice change for vulnerable adults and children denied their rights by services and society. Amy was a Director of child rights organisations Unicef UK and The Children’s Society, and earlier spent 5 years leading policy and campaigns on social rights and healthcare at mental health charity Mind.
Amy served for 8 years as an elected Councillor for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, including two years as Cabinet Member for Health & Adults Services and Chair of the Health & Wellbeing Board, which oversaw integrated services including maternity care transformation. She has held various non-Executive positions including Vice-Chair of East End Citizens Advice Bureau and Governor of East London Mental Health Foundation Trust. Amy has an MSc in European Public Policy and MA in English Literature and German. When not working for Birthrights, she is kept on her toes by her two lively boys!
Amy is responsible for the overall leadership of Birthrights, including strategy, finances, fundraising and communications.
Maria Booker is a project management and policy professional having run 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 and also studied for an MBA during that time. Maria has two school age children and has until recently was Chair of her local Maternity Voices Partnership for 4 years.
Maria leads the Birthrights policy and legal hub, and also manages our training for healthcare professionals and peer supporters.
Research and Partnerships Officer
Rebecca Brione is a bioethicist and public policy expert. When not working for Birthrights, she carries out research on reproductive justice and autonomy, on her own and with academic partners. Rebecca has completed a MA in Bioethics and Medical Law and is a postgraduate associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies and a member of the AHRC network Risks of Childbirth in Historical Perspective and the inter-disciplinary Perceptions of Pregnancy network. Until recently she was Vice-Chair of her local Maternity Voices Partnership , and monitored care and decency for women in prison as member of the Independent Monitoring Board for HMP Downview. Prior to moving into maternity work, Rebecca had a ten year career in UK and EU policy and legislation in the Civil Service.
Rebecca oversees Birthrights’ research programme and partnerships, with a particular focus on multiple disadvantage, mental capacity and disability. She carried out the research on the experiences of women facing multiple disadvantage in partnership with Birth Companions. She also works on wider policy projects as part of our policy and legal hub.
Johanna has worked with Human Rights Law for over 20 years. Called to the Bar in 2000, Johanna spent 9 years as a practising barrister, focusing on cases involving asylum and human rights law, family law, and survivors of coercion and abuse. in 2009 she gave birth to her son and was profoundly affected by the excellent maternity care that she received. She turned her attention to maternity rights and co-founded a maternity advocacy group at a grassroots level in Yorkshire.
Johanna feels passionately about ensuring rights-based, dignified, maternity and health care is offered to everyone. Johanna joined Birthrights as a volunteer in 2014 and has been an Associate Trainer for Birthrights from 2015. Jo has recently formally joined the staff team as Advice line officer, providing advice to individual and healthcare professionals who contact our advice line.
Outside of Birthrights, Johanna is a qualified breastfeeding counsellor with La Leche League, she spent six years on the board of LLLGB and was recently elected to the Great Britain seat on the board of La Leche League International. She is also a trustee for the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust.
Reema has over seven years’ experience in the cancer charity sector. She most recently was a Cancer Support Specialist at Maggie’s at the Royal Free, offering emotional support to people affected by cancer. She previously worked in the NHS and other health organisations including the Health Research Authority in the Department of Health, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies Wellbeing Service, Moving Minds Psychological Management Rehabilitation, and Children’s Services. She also volunteered as a Research Assistant at the London Art Therapy Centre to pursue her interest in this field of work. Her health psychology background began when she studied MSc. Health Psychology at City University in 2008 and achieved a Distinction in 2009.
Birthrights is an organisation that is close to Reema’s heart, as she experienced some tough times post-birth and therefore wanted to make a difference by helping others in similar situations. When she is not working, she is busy entertaining her little girl and loves every minute of it.
Reema manages the operational and administrative work of Birthrights.