Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan
13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips
Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony
Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young
Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft
Irish Left Review >>
Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh
Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason
Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien
Interview with Cathal Goulding Mon Dec 26, 2016 17:11 | Cathal Goulding
Trump, Russia and the CIA Sat Dec 10, 2016 18:23 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason
Spirit of Contradiction >>
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005
Garda corruption: the stripped down truth
Will Pat Hickey turn up for his trial? Anthony
Garda breath tests letter Anthony
Daniel McConnell: Happy to wear establishment blinkers Anthony
State failing in its duty to enforce law Anthony
Public Inquiry >>
Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake
Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake
Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake
Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake
NAMA Wine Lake >>
Petition: Human Rights in Irish Childbirth - A Woman's right to choice on how and where she births.
rights, freedoms and repression |
Tuesday February 26, 2013 13:41 by AIMS Ireland and HBA Ireland - Assoc for Improvements in Maternity Services Ireland and Homebirth Assoc of Ireland
This petition was created by AIMS Ireland and HBA Ireland, Feb 2013
Abstract: There is an overwhelming failure to recognize human rights in birth in Ireland. In December 2011 the Fine Gael and Labour Government passed legislation, called The Nurses and Midwives Act, 2011, which governs the way midwives are insured to attend homebirth in Ireland. Midwives who make an individual assessment, that the mother and baby are safer birthing at home than in a hospital setting, desite falling outside generalized guidelines, are punishable by law with a €60,000 fine and/or a 10 year prision sentence. Women who make an informed decision, against the uninformed terms, are threatened with having their midwife barred from attending them in childbirth and having their baby taken into State custody at birth.
In 2011 the Fine Gael and Labour Government passed legislation, called The Nurses and Midwives Act, which regulates the terms on which a woman may access homebirth services in Ireland. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was created to outline the terms in which a midwife is insured to attend a woman at home. Midwives who book women outside of the rules and hse criteria, in the interest of safety for the woman and baby, are punishable by law with a €60,000 fine and/or a 10 year prison sentence. Women who make an informed decision, against the un-informed terms, are threatened with having their midwife barred from attending them in childbirth and having their baby taken into State custody at birth. Women have also been threatened with risk assessors, mental health assessments and doorstep visits from relevant stakeholders.
AIMSI has raised concerns on the criteria in the MOU at every level due to failures by the HSE, State, and stakeholders involved in the process to recognize the woman’s right to choice on how/where she births in this process. AIMSI published HSE proposals which recognized the Gardaí as 'relevant stakeholders' in homebirth and have documented examples of threats women have recieved when exercising their choice for a homebirth outside of 'the rules'.
A finalized version of the MOU is currently being negotiated through the National Steering Committee for Homebirth. Proposals to the finalized MOU include the mandatory attendance of two midwives per homebirth. The implementation of two midwives will end independent midwifery and homebirth in Ireland.
Proposals to Finalized MOU – mandatory attendance of two midwives
AIMSI and HBA are concerned by proposals in the finalized MOU in which it will become mandatory for two midwives to attend every homebirth; this has raised serious concerns and, if included, the implications on homebirth will be immense. Ireland simply does not have the infrastructure to implement this proposal. The impact of such a proposal would deeply restrict homebirth in many areas and would threaten the existence of independent midwifery. The proposal of two midwives also infringes on a woman’s right to privacy, the decision on how and where to birth, and the continuity of care relationship between woman and her midwife, as the primary caregiver.
Mandatory attendance of two midwives is not evidence based, nor is it routine practice in other EU States. Restrictions in homebirth places added strain on over-stretch hospital based services. Homebirth costs less and opens services in consultant-led care for women who want or need this option.
Human Rights in Childbirth – Ireland:
AIMSI and HBA rejects the Government’s belief that the decision on where and how to give birth is with the HSE, insurance companies, and the Government; not the woman.
Current legislation to negate a woman’s right to choose where to birth her baby is in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights which enshrines the fundamental right to bodily integrity. The legislation and current prohibitive criteria in the MOU also is in conflict with the European Union court of human rights: Ternovsky vs Hungary - December 2004 - which found in favour of the right to choose the circumstances in becoming a parent. On a local level, the Irish Constitution upholds the right to bodily integrity and autonomy. The HSE recognizes the right to informed choice in medical treatment and health.
Pregnant women should be afforded the same rights to bodily integrity and autonomy in her health care as other citizens. As informed, equal citizens, pregnant women have equal rights to making decisions on her choice of healthcare, privacy, and place of birth. Neither the Government, nor the HSE, nor the panel of "experts" who created the MOU have the authority to make decisions for individuals in relations to their personal health and care options.
International best practice, clearly defines a woman’s choice as final, regardless of recommendations. The Irish Maternity Services has failed to implement recognition of these rights, and instead, relies on blanket criteria outlining who may access midwife led care options. Best Practice clearly defines recommendations as a means to guide women and health care professionals towards a recommended care option, but guidance should never replace the right to informed choice. The removal of choice, as seen in an Irish context, is never best practice.
There is currently no protection for the rights of pregnant women in Ireland. Ireland has the European Social Charter, the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but nothing specific to the Irish State that gives pregnant women rights, that protects pregnant women, nor defines women's right to autonomy in childbirth such as NICE.
We, the undersigned, recognize a woman's right to informed choices, bodily integrity, and autonomy in childbirth. We recognize that women have the right to decide how and where she births. We recognize the findings of the EU Court of Human Rights, which found in favour of the right to choose the circumstances on becoming a parent.
We demand revisions to the MOU, to define, recognize, and under-pin these rights, regardless of criteria recommendations. These revisions should reflect a woman’s right to give birth how/where she wishes, fully insured, by the care provider of her choice; be it hospital, MLU, or home.
We reject the implementation of mandatory two midwives per homebirth into the MOU.