Author: Hermine Hayes-Klein, HRiC Founder & Director
Human Rights in Childbirth is a network that advocates for recognition, in law and practice, of the full human rights of birthing women. We call for non-violent, anti-colonialist, community and woman-centered policy goals in maternity care development around the world. We believe that healthy outcomes for mother and baby are best achieved when everybody working in maternity care understands that their job is provide the birthing woman with respectful, individualized support. We understand that universal human rights are at stake in different ways in childbirth around the world. Our mission is to connect those people and organizations working at the local level to advocate for birthing women’s rights in different countries, to share information and support about the issues they are facing, and what they are doing about them.
As we have spoken with lawyers and activists working in different countries over the last two years, some of them said, “I would like to develop HRiC in my country.” In order to explore each country’s need for HRiC, these people—usually mothers—have taken on the role of Political Activism Coordinator for their country, a hub and catalyst for grass-roots political activism for the recognition of human rights in maternity care. In those countries where there are lawyers working on this issue, some of them have become Legal Advocacy Coordinators. Some of these lawyers have formed national legal organizations, like Elizabeth Prochaska’s Birthrights UK, and Indra Lusero’s Birth Rights Bar Association in the U.S.
The first task that our Coordinators are taking on together for HRiC is the construction of a country-page for our world map. Website manager and World Mapping Coordinator, Amy Rae Zimmerman, was brought in to help develop a world map in which viewers will be able to click on any country where HRiC has coordinators. We are calling it the ‘World Mapping Project’ and we are looking at a variety of maternity care factors around the world, country by country, and providing that information in both English & Native languages on our website. These pages will contain information on a variety of maternity care factors in each nation, including (but not limited to):
- Statistics on maternity care, outcomes and interventions
- The history, development, and economics of the maternity care system
- Information on how most women are supported in childbirth in that country
- The use of cesarean including VBAC & Breech options
- The role of midwives and status of home-based birth
Our Legal Advocacy Coordinators are developing Know Your Rights information for women at a local level.
Our goal for these country pages is two-fold: they will illuminate the human rights issues at stake in each country, for the international community, and open up international awareness and discussion about the similarities and differences in what women face in childbirth around the world. And these pages will serve as a source of information for people in those countries who are waking up about human rights issues in maternity care and want to find out how to do something about it. For that reason, they will also contain information about any organizations already working nationally for birthing women, and how to get involved in a movement that is already underway in many places.
We are excited about the possibility of this online map for advancing awareness and energy in the necessary global movement for woman-centered care. We are proud to announce the launch of our first country page: Italy. Activist Elena Skoko and Lawyer Alessandra Battisti worked together to compile the information on this page. We launch it today in celebration of the first national HRiC conference in Italy, on Saturday September 20th in Rome. After this event, we will complete its full translation into Italian. Our plan for these country pages is to have them all available in both English and the national language, with a clickable flag. All of these country pages will remain works in progress after their launch, with as much potential for further development as there is people power in that country for human rights in childbirth.
If you are interested in knowing more about our World Mapping project, or are interested in becoming a regional or national legal advocacy or political advocacy coordinator, please contact us.
Preview Our World Map
Color – Launched Country Page
Grey – In Progress Country Page