What are Human Rights in Childbirth (HRiC)?
Every health care system in the world faces the same essential questions. Who decides how a baby is born? Who chooses where a birth takes place? Who bears the ultimate responsibility for a birth and its outcome? What are the legal rights of birthing women? What are the responsibilities of doctors, midwives and other caregivers in childbirth? What are the rights and interests of the unborn, and how are they protected?
The European Court of Human Rights(EHCR) got it right, in the 2010 case of Ternovszky v. Hungary
Birthing women have a fundamental human right to choose the circumstances in which they give birth.
While the ECHR is the first high tribunal to articulate this right in these terms, the foundation for this right-- the right to privacy, the right to autonomy, the right to control over one's own body-- applies to all women everywhere.
As a birthing woman, you have the right to meaningful choice and genuine support for your personal needs around and during childbirth. Nobody can tell you that you "must" do anything. Nobody can "let you" or "not let you" do anything. Nobody can pressure or force you into a cesarean section that you do not believe is in the interest of yourself and your baby. Nobody can cut an episiotomy if you do not consent to one. Nobody can do anything to your body or your baby without discussing it with you first and asking for your consent. You have the right to be the ultimate authority over everything that occurs around your body's birth of your baby.
Sounds like a fantasy, for such rights to be recognized and respected where you live? Did your care providers apparently miss the memo regarding your rights around childbirth? Or are you pregnant now, and finding that you have few or no choices regarding the circumstances in which you will birth your baby, and discovering that the limits on your options are not about your health or your baby's health so much as they are about politics, money, and power?
That's why childbirth needs a human rights revolution.
On May 31 and June 1, 2012, 300 men and women, mothers and fathers, babies, doctors, midwives, lawyers, anthropologists, historians, politicians, ethicists, and other professionals from 50 nations around the world gathered in The Hague, The Netherlands, for a landmark conference on Human Rights in Childbirth. Most came to The Hague with a belief that change is needed. All left with an understanding that change is needed, and with the energy and the desire to unite and to make that change.
This website is a resource for that revolution.
This website is committed to the following goals:
1. CONNECTING people and organizations around the world who are working to investigate and advance human rights in childbirth.
2. SUPPORTING dialogue amongst the stakeholders in healthcare systems, for the exploration of how to provide healthcare around childbirth that is safe, healthy, and respectful.
3. COLLECTING and SHARING information about the law and facts relevant to HRiC.