Human Rights in Childbirth
We propose a multi-media campaign to raise awareness about human rights in European maternity care. With our European network of women’s groups, we will use social media to elevate women’s stories about disrespect and abuse in childbirth and empower women to advocate for respectful maternity care.
In the past few years, the European Court of Human Rights has affirmed the rights of birthing women in several important cases, but those rights remain subject to debate. Although women’s rights may be acknowledged by human rights tribunals and bioethicists, those rights will remain theoretical until they are understood and implemented in the places where women give birth. Before Europe can take collective action to protect human rights in maternity care, it needs to understand how violation of these rights occur and impact women. We. Birth. Europe. will give voice to those experiences, stimulate conversation, and include the stories and faces of birthing women in debates about their care. We envision a Europe where all women have access to respectful, non-discriminatory maternity care.
Our goal is to advance understanding about disrespect and abuse in European maternity care. Because the campaign will span the EU, the project will generate stories, in women’s own voices, about childbirth in Western, Eastern, Northern, and Mediterranean Europe. These stories will aid advocates and policy-makers working to advance respectful maternity care, and also open dialogues with clinicians, hospitals, and administrations who want to reduce disrespect and abuse. “We. Birth. Europe” will capitalize on shared values of democracy, freedom of speech, and unity across borders, ushering in a future where childbearing people-- no matter their background or beliefs--are supported in their efforts to shepherd life into the world with dignity and humanity.
Because countries are at different stages of awareness and action concerning disrespect and abuse in maternity care, we will create a flexible template for an accessible and effective campaign. National coordinators will implement the campaign in their language and can: (1) facilitate storytelling through social media; (2) organize in-person gatherings as a place to share stories; (3) or host multi-stakeholder community meetings. We will require that our partners identify trauma support resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate. HRiC will identify a representative sample of stories from each nation to translate and share with the international community via policy reports and diverse media channels.
We welcome feedback.