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Conference “Human Rights in Chilbdbirth in Eastern Europe” in Zagreb


An important regional reproductive rights event took place on 16 and 17 of April in Zagreb. “Human Rights in Childbirth”, international organization working on the advancement of the rights connected with childbirth together with “RODA – Parents in Action” – the Croatian organization also working in the field of reproductive rights organized a conference “Human Rights in Childbirth in eastern Europe”. The regional conferences are the follow-up to the first “Human Rights in Childbirth” conference that took place in the Hague in 2012.

The inspiration for the movement of midwives, doulas, doctors and activists was the judgment by the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Tersznovsky vs. Hungary where the court ruled that every woman has a right to choose where and how to give birth. The situation of restrictions in home births, repercussions towards midwives and lack of respects for women’s choices is especially seen in the case of Agnes Gereb – a midwife who faces criminal charges for helping women deliver at home.

The conference on the situation in Eastern Europe went far beyond the right to have a home birth. It showed the multiple layers of poor level of health care services that are connected with pregnancy and child birth. It clearly showed the connection between abortion laws and practices and the standards of obstetric care for women. It became very visible that the grounds for lack of good standards lie in the lack of respect for women’s choices, no matter if they are reflected in the shape of abortion laws or in the harmful birth practices (like the Kristeller maneuver or episiotomy). They also have very similar effects on women.

The conference was the occasion to share knowledge and practices about laws and strategic litigation, monitoring activities, research, medical facts and studies, campaign ideas and advocacy strategies as well as using media and international mechanisms for advancement of the situation. It also was an unique chance for further networking of activists working in the field in the region.

Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

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