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Protecting human rights in childbirth

Birthrights response to the Ockenden report

Much proverbial ink has been spent this week responding to the first report from the Ockenden review into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust. Finding something new to say to another heartbreaking report into maternity services is challenging and yet the depth and scale of the harm done to families demands a response. … Read more

How should Health Care Professionals handle a maternal request for caesarean?

It‘s been unusually noisy in the maternity world over the summer, as media reports have reignited discussion about what a “safe” birth looks like. At Birthrights we believe that the need to listen to women is the mast that all those who care about the safety of women and babies during birth, can cling to when the seas of … Read more

Do I have a right to a c-section? Update on Oxford University Hospitals

On 24th May we launched a campaign to engage with Trusts who state that they do not offer maternal request caesarean sections, thereby denying women the individual respect and consideration they are entitled to. The first Trust we wrote to was Oxford University Hospitals whose policy on offering planned caesarean sections is stated in this … Read more

Rapid Resolution and Redress scheme – consultation now open

A Rapid Resolution and Redress scheme was one of the key recommendations coming out of the Better Births report. This month the Department of Health has launched a consultation on this proposal. Currently families whose children have suffered severe injury due to negligent maternity care have to wait an average of 11.5 agonising years to … Read more

Dubska v Czech Republic: A blow to women's reproductive rights in Europe

The European Court of Human Rights gave judgment in Dubská v Czech Republic last week. The Court found that Czech legislation prohibiting midwives attendance at home births did not interfere with women’s right to private life under Article 8 of the European Convention. The decision came as a surprise to maternity professionals and campaigners across … Read more

Consent and student medics – European Court ruling

The European Court of Human Rights gave judgment last week in Konovalova v Russia. It’s an important decision for maternity rights across Europe, which emphasises the need for women’s informed consent to all decisions in childbirth, even those that health professionals might consider routine or unimportant. Ms Konolova gave birth in 1999 in hospital in … Read more

Obstetric violence in Brazil

This week a court in Brazil authorised the forcible removal of a woman from her home and the performance of a cesarean section against her will. You can read the Brazilian news reports here, translated here. The justification? An obstetrician told the judge that a c-section was necessary to protect the fetus from potential harm. … Read more