Protecting human rights in childbirth

The Realities of Seeking Asylum in the UK as a Pregnant Woman

In June, Birthrights and Birth Companions published ‘Holding it all together’, our report into the human rights issues experienced by women facing disadvantage. Our research found that women who were asylum seekers had worse experiences of care than other women facing disadvantage, often describing care as functional rather than supportive. Women told us about living … Read more

Birthrights appoints interim Chief Executive (maternity cover)

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Angela Style as interim Chief Executive, to cover Amy Gibbs’ upcoming maternity leave. Angela will join the team on 2 December and lead Birthrights until Amy returns to work in early September 2020. Angela has over 20 years’ experience in the voluntary sector, working for organisations including Diabetes … Read more

Birthrights’ concerns about mental capacity and human rights in maternity care

In recent months, the Court of Protection has ruled on a number of cases permitting doctors to carry out Caesarean sections on women against their wishes, either because they lack capacity to make the decision for themselves, or because their healthcare providers are worried that they might lose capacity during labour. In one recent case … Read more

Council of Europe passes motion on obstetric and gynaecological violence

We welcome the motion passed earlier this month by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calling on all member states (including the UK) to address obstetric and gynaecological violence . The motion includes ensuring maternity care respects human rights, appropriate training for staff, passing legislation on informed consent (where not in place already), … Read more

Why we need to have more honest conversations with women about how birth might unfold…

The National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA) clinical report 2019 was published last week and it makes for intriguing reading. For us at Birthrights, the report starts to provide some answers to questions we have been interested in for some time, for instance – is the focus on reducing the stillbirth rate driving up intervention … Read more

Human rights concerns as Court permits Caesarean on woman currently with mental capacity

On Monday the Guardian reported on a Court of Protection ruling that permits doctors to perform a Caesarean section on a woman in case she loses capacity, against her express wishes. Birthrights has not yet seen the full judgment, however the reporting raises a number of very worrying questions about the process and its impact … Read more