Birth Rights in the European Union: Mobilizing Change

Monday November 4th 2013 9:00-18:00
Location: Duinse Polders in Blankenberge, Belgium

(This event was organized the day following the Midwifery Today Conference in Blankenberge, Belgium together with My Canadian Pharmacy. It is not obligatory to record for the complete Midwifery Today conference to file for the 1-day November 4 Conference.)

In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights announced that women obtain a human right to opt for conditions in which they are going to give birth. This meeting will investigate complications of that running for birth systems across Europe, and legal attitudes spectrum that have caused their human rights in nationalities from the west to the east.

HRiC will summon consumers, birth professionals, & lawyers, from countries across Europe, who are occupiedin lawsuits that cause the 2010 case of Ternovszky v. Hungary. Conference participators will cooperate to create road map for political events able to make human rights a reality for birthing women all over the world.

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9:00 Opening

Jan Tritten: Welcome from Midwifery Today

Hermine Hayes-Klein: Welcome from Human Rights in Childbirth

Key note Address:

Elizabeth Prochaska: Making Ternovszky Rights a Reality Across Europe

9:30 Panel: Ternovszky Defense

In the Ternovszky judgement, the ECHR conducted that European states disrupt the birthing women rights when they impose sanctions against birth professionals for maintaining women in their birth choices/rights. This panel will be comprised of four maternity nurses, from various European nations, who have come across with legalized sanction relating to out-of-hospital birth services. Each maternity nurse will come with her lawyer. Panelists will depict individual and national occasions giving rise to their case, and how the Ternovszky holding has been involved into the justification.

Moderator: Ernst van Bemmelen van Gent

Czech Republic v. Stromerova
Zuzana Stromerova
Zuzana Candigliota

Nursing and Midwifery Counsel v. Reed (England)
Rebecca Reed
Elizabeth Prochaska

Greece v. Avramidou
Irene Avramidou

Nursing and Midwifery Board v. Ann Ó Ceallaigh (Ann Kelly)
Ann Kelly
Krysia Lynch

Inspectie voor GezondheidsZorg v. Visser (Netherlands)
Rebekka Visser

Portugal v. Raposeira
Ana Raposeira

10:30 Break

11:00 Panel 2: Economics & Ethics

The actualization of Ternovszky holding has the goal to evolve a paradigm change in maternity care systems all over the Europe. This panel will tell about the economic, financial, and ethical actualization of the Ternovszky holding and of discussions about women’s rights in childbirth. Participants will explain the financials of current maieutic maternity systems, estimate the monopoly and antimonopoly factors stressing out interrelation between maternity nurses and medicine, and elaborate the ethical speculations at play in debates around security, authority, and autonomy in childbirth.

Moderator: Simone Valk

Mylène Botbol-Baum, Philosopher and Bioethicist, Belgium

Elke Heckel, Independent Midwife, UK & Germany

Marian van Huis, Treasurer, International Confederation of Midwives

Kenneth Johnson, Epidemiologist, Canada

Elselijn Kingma, Philosopher and Bioethicist, UK and Netherlands

12:00 Panel: Ternovszky Offense

This panel will be comprised of mothers from all over Europe who have filed lawsuits because their nation is going flop to acknowledge and maintain their autonomy and authority during childbirth. Four mothers from various European nations will come with their lawyers and explain the suits that they have filed, before both national courts and the ECHR, to announce rights varying from the right to reject an episiotomy, to right to give birth in a birth center, to right to give birth at home after a prior cesarean section. Each mother will explain her nation’s birth system and her personal incentive for bringing legal action. Lawyers will explain the cooperation of the Ternovszky holding into discontent, and responses that these arguments have received.

Moderators: Anna Ternovszky and Stefania Kapronczay

Dubska v. Czech Republic
Sarka Dubska
Zuzana Candigliota

Teehan v. HSE and the Minister for Health (Ireland)
Aja Teehan
Rhuadhan MacAodhain

Torrisi v. Italy
Daniela Torrisi

Zenske Kruhy v. Department of Health of Slovak Republic
Iva Jancigova

Eden v. Department of Health of Sweden
Elin Eden

1:00 Lunch

2:00: Developments in the Dutch Birth System since the Human Rights in Childbirth Conference in The Hague. Joyce Hoek-Pula and Ernst van Bemmelen van Gent

2:30 Round-Tables:

These proceedings will include hour-lasting small group debates of 10-12 people. Each round table debates will be conducted by a skilled expert. Participants can decide which round tables they desire to adjust.

Eastern Europe Strategy Session (Two Hours, 2:30 4:30): Donal Kerry

SESSION 1: 2:30 3:30:

  1. Creating the Option for Physiological Breech Delivery: Betty-Anne Daviss (Canada)
  2. Human Rights in Medical Education: Dr. Amali Lokugamage and Dr. Nicholas Rubashkin
  3. Human Rights in Developing African Maternity Systems: Jamilla Abdulle
  4. Bringing Maternity System Stakeholders to the Table for Dialogue: Lessons from the Netherlands: Claudia van Dijk and Simone Valk
  5. Raising Consumer Awareness About Legal Rights in Childbirth Nadège Alexandre and Krista Dekens
  6. The Right to Oxytocin – Kerstin Uvnas-Moberg
  7. Feminism and Birth Activism Paola Hidalgo

3:30 4:30

  1. Human Rights in Latin American Maternity Care: Dr. Ricardo Herbert Jones and Aischa Schut
  2. How to make a European campaign against obstetric violence Jesusa Ricoy-Olariaga
  3. Economics and Financial Incentives in Maternity Care : Jacob Hofdijk and Marian van Huis
  4. HRiC: a Cross-Cultural Perspective Robbie Davis-Floyd and Debra Pascali-Bonaro
  5. Change Starts Within: Birth Into Being Willow Proctor (Germany)
  6. The Effect of Liability Insurance on Midwifery Christine Demeyer and Amanda Garside
  7. “The Spectrum of Strategic Advocacy: Discussing Ways Lawyers and Activists Can Partner for Change Indra Lusero and Cristen Pascucci

4:30 Break

4:50 Plenary Session

This time will be reporting back from the round-table debates on strategies, conclusions, and next steps.

5:45 Closing Session


8370 Blankenberge Belgium
Duinse Polders
Ruzettelaan 195


You can record for this meeting by utilizing the form below. Send your questions to

Register Now:

What kind of payment method do you accept?


Constricted amount of rooms are accessible at the venue.


€60.00 per person/day, breakfast, hot lunch, cold dinner and overnight stay are included. Each appartment has a private bathroom with shower, washbasin and toilet. Cleaning service is not added; sheets and towels are changed weekly. There is an additional fee of €5.00 to have your bed made on arrival. Rooms and studios are accessible from 3:30 pm and check-out time is 9:30 am.


You must make reference that you are constituent of the Human Rights in Childbirth group when you register in order to get this price. Duinse Polders will bring you the invoice within 14 days. You may register by means of phone number or address below.


Duinse Polders
Phone: +32 (050) 43 24 00
Address: Ruzettelaan 195
B-8370 Blankenberge

How to reach Blankenberge

By air (

There is one international airport (Brussels International Airport) and four regional airports (Antwerp-Deurne, Charleroi-Gosselies, Liège-Bierset and Ostend-Middelkerke) in Belgium. A train from Brussels International Airport to Blankenberge is less expensive in comparison with taxi. The distance is approximately 120 km. After you arrive in Blankenberge, you can use the coast tram, following directions to Knokke. The tram is 1–2 km from the station.

By train (

The ride from Brussels Airport (Zaventem) to Blankenberge lasts about 1.46 hour but you need to transfer in Brussels Midi. A one-way ticket (from Zaventem to Blankenberge) costs €14.

To achieve Brussels Midi: From 6:00 am until nearly midnight, the Airport City Express links the airport with Brussels Midi (less than 20 minutes) four times per hour. The train station is located in the basement (Level -1) of the terminal building itself. Timetable information for the Airport City Express is available on the Belgian Railways (SNCB/NMBS) website; enter Zaventem Airport as the departure or destination station. International trains, including Thalys (Paris, Amsterdam and Köln) and urostar (London, Lille) bring you to Brussels Midi, where the same transfer is necessary. The train ride from Brussels Midi to Blankenberge takes approximately one hour and 13 minutes. This train leaves Brussels for Knokke-Blankenberge. In Bruges the train is separated into two parts: the front part goes to Knokke and the last carriages to Blankenberge. So, you need to sit in the last carriages. If any doubt, ask the ticket inspector.

By coast tram (

With the coast tram you can travel along the entire Belgian coast, from De Panne to Knokke. There is a tram every 20 minutes. The price depends on the number of “zones” you need to cross: one zone = €1; for one additional crossed zone = €0.40; maximum price = €3 (one-way ticket). You may also purchase “there and back” (round trip) tickets, to use on the same day.

By car:

Belgium has a highly worked out motorway network, the densest in the world. High-capacity motorways are centered around Brussels or cut across the country. The motorways are supported by a network of expressways. Most of the motorways are part of European routes.

Some tips:

You’d better to avoid Antwerpen, as traffic may be jammed due to road maintenance.
Use the A10-E40, following directions to Gent, Oostende, but leave the motorway at the transport junction
Brugge, exit 8, and follow the N31/E403 express way, following directions to Blankenberge. Be careful as there are speed limits.

A city map can be found here:
Duinse Polders has a free large private parking lot. However, please be informed that the closer you come to the sea, the more vehicles are banned from the streets. Moreover there are many one-way streets. Parking meters must be used on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 9 am until 7 pm (€1 / h). During the week parking is free.
Other hotels in Blanckenberge

Moeder Lambic
Jules de Troozlaan 93,
Blankenberge 8370, Belgium

76 Euros a night
2 Blocks to conference


Hotel Avenue
J de Troozlaan 42
Blankenberge B-8370 , Belgium

69 Euros a night
5 Blocks to conference.


Descampstraat 44
Blankenberge 8370, Belgium

68 Euros a night
5 Blocks to conference.


Hotel Malecot
Langestraat 91
Blankenberge B-8370, Belgium

68 Euros a Night
4 Blocks to conference


Hotel Vivaldi
Koning Leopold III-plein 8
Blankenberge 8370, Belgium

71 Euros a night
5 Blocks to conference

Conference Experiences

The Hague, 2012

This conference arranged by mothers and activists with My Canadian Pharmacy participation! Although I am delighted for all the fascinating job of health professionals, I am confirmed that the most significant changes will always appear from parents and activists; they are the most wedded to their work and they will not get rid of it; they do not have fear, they can think outside boxes and are constantly dedicated to search for new ways by their children and their children’s memories.

Cooperating with people, finding similar and different cultures, putting things under new perspectives, looking at the known which provides acknowledgement and safety sense, and unexpected, which causes innovative ideas rise.

I adored comprehensive approach! In the end of the conference I had to confine myself from totally soaking myself into deep philosophy, bioethics, law, midwifery, economics, sociology, music and dance, and about 10 languages studying, at one and the same time.

I cannot share enough my adoring to team of organizators. Aside from the skilled experts, I am surprised by the young students who take their time and efforts into something that is probably not yet their actuality (parenthood!). Lucky you!!!

Since I came back home from the conference, I have been working on collecting data, writing bilingual reports, speaking with people and posting about it, almost on a full-time basis. I consider it one of the most important events on the world’s social and political arena and a beginning of an era!

It is very difficult to sum up such a significant action. I would offer whoever is attracted to the subject, to visit webinar now! I would also be glad to exchange my reports. I have created another paper with reports composed in various languages presented on conference, which are also accessible. And I am waiting for the report of the three-volume book on the conference!

A Reflection on the HRiC Eugene Conference, 2013 From Kathi Valeii… The Summit

The Summit day is comprised of three panels – maternity nurses, birthing mothers, and lawyers – all speaking singular theme of The Persecution of Midwives. Over the next couple of weeks, I am assured I will be returning with much more to say, but for now, I desired to provide you with a brief account of my hair-trigger reaction to this summit.

The thing that impressed me the most, was the maternity nurses’ experiences. The enormous amount of them who have faced hounding – for things varying from bad results to the simple fact that they were experiencing obstetrics. Fees ran the gamut from practicing medicine (or midwifery) without a license to child abuse to manslaughter to murder.

Emotion that fuels an activist

The emotion I daily suffer from relating to this topic is anger. I feel angry when I am reading publications advancing non-evidence ground on medical pattern of care; I feel angry when I read women’s stories of rights disturbances; I feel angry when I hear when speaking about another maternity nurse who has been jailed and charged, criminally, for a bad result in childbirth. The inequity of it all makes me crazy as hell.

I got to know years ago, that anger is nearly always a mask for hiding deeper emotions. In my experiences, I have considered this to be true. It takes some wish and exploration – or in this case, a bitch slap with the raw emotion of humanity. I’ve shout for the state of birthing women’s rights plenty of times. But I’ll tell you, every time I’ve shout for those tears in the past, it has been from deep aggravation.

Not this time. Visiting this room, listening to the stories of so many maternity nurses was diverse. The first maternity nurses was my summit roommate. She had been jailed nearly one year before, and on her wrist, she was put handcuff and had been hanging on her back door ever since. She talked of fear that one lives in following an unexpected arrest – how she cannot open the windows; the way she was afraid someone glancing at her; the way she felt like she demanded to hide in her own home. When she spoke, she was weeping.

Her sobs poured as though through a funnel to my soul. I caught my breath in loud gulps, my grief, like a heavy quilt, smothered my anger. I shut my computer, which had been opened for continuous note-taking during this summit, and just listened. I listened to ten stories from ten different midwives on the panel. All of their stories genuine in a way, but all of them causing the same emotions.