Protecting human rights in childbirth


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Informed Consent in Childbirth: Making Rights into Reality

10th July 2013

This article first appeared on It is reproduced here with permission and gratitude. “No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear … Read more

End the immigration detention of pregnant women

11th June 2013

Stillbirth, miscarriage and acute psychosis are amongst the problems experienced by pregnant women held in immigration removal centres, according to a disturbing new report from Medical Justice. The report exposes the injustice and ineffectiveness of detaining pregnant women for immigration purposes. These women have not committed any crime. They have come to the UK seeking … Read more

Our response to the government's legal aid proposals

4th June 2013

The government’s consultation on the latest round of legal aid cuts closes today. These proposals pose a profound threat to the rule of law and the protection of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including pregnant women. Here is what 90 leading barristers had to say about the proposals in a letter … Read more

Why independent midwifery matters: Our response to the government consultation

17th May 2013

Today is the final day for responding to the Department of Health’s consultation on mandatory indemnity insurance for all healthcare professionals. As Birthrights regulars will know, implementation of the proposals will spell the end of independent midwifery. As we have explained in our response, the loss of independent midwives will have serious repercussions for women’s … Read more

Women's Institute and NCT Report Highlights Key Rights Concerns

4th May 2013

Yesterday’s report by the National Federation of Women’s Institute and NCT highlights key rights-based concerns facing UK women accessing maternity services. The report, which looked at the care received by 5500 women over the past five years, concluded that choice of place of birth remained “an aspiration, not a reality” and paints a picture of … Read more

British Journal of Midwifery on Birthrights and Mid-Staffs Report

10th April 2013

The British Journal of Midwifery covered the ‘much needed’ launch of Birthrights in March 2013 (Volume 21, Issue 3) with a piece by Professor Paul Lewis. The piece, which you can read in full below, calls for a ‘seismic shift’ in the way the NHS operates and asks why ‘most midwifes are unable to deliver … Read more

Read our letter in The Telegraph calling for human rights in healthcare

26th March 2013

The Telegraph today published a joint letter from the British Institute for Human Rights, Birthrights and others calling for a human rights approach to healthcare after the Mid-Staffs report. Below is the letter as it appeared in today’s Telegraph Letter Page (26 March 2013). It can also be accessed online here. You can read our … Read more

Birthrights Supports Independent Midwives at Westminster Rally

25th March 2013

Independent Midwives and the women they have cared for gather today outside the Houses of Parliament as part of the “Your Body, Your Birth, Your Choice” campaign in protest at the imminent demise of Independent Midwifery in the UK. The government’s proposed implementation of the EU Directive on Cross-Border Healthcare makes professional indemnity insurance (PII) … Read more

Birthrights on Mumsnet

19th March 2013

We’re really pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with Mumsnet, the UK’s biggest network for parents, to answer their most frequently asked questions relating to rights during pregnancy and birth. After joining us for our launch, the Mumsnet team asked us if we could help their millions of users, from pregnant women, to parents … Read more

When maternity doesn't matter – new report shows how badly we are failing vulnerable pregnant women

25th February 2013

We are failing the most vulnerable pregnant women in our society. Women who have experienced serious trauma and abuse in their home countries, who often have underlying health conditions, and who are in the UK seeking refuge and protection. The report published today by the Refugee Council and Maternity Action explains how we take these … Read more