In just two days, over 1000 premiere screenings will be happening all across the United States and all over the world for a brand new documentary entitled Freedom for Birth. Freedom for Birth is more than just a film. It marks the beginning of a movement, the Mother’s Revolution, that will focus global attention on the violations of women’s rights during childbirth all around the world. This 1 hour documentary highlights the story of Agnes Gereb, a Hungarian midwife who has attended over 3000 home births and is now under house arrest, as Hungary outlawed home birth many years ago.
Agnes’ story brings to light the truth behind Sheila Kitzinger’s words in the film, “Yes, there is a grand witch hunt against midwives.” The filmmakers travelled to the recent Human Right’s in Childbirth Conference in May 2012 in The Hague, Netherlands and have interviewed numerous birth luminaries to make their case. Sally Tracy, Professor of Midwifery at the University of Sydney, and also in the film says“Our society is almost oblivious to this incredible travesty that happens to women. It’s an abuse of women. It no less than an abuse of women.”
Hermine Hayes-Klein, US lawyer and organizer of the recent Human Rights in Childbirth Conference says, “the way that childbirth is being managed in many countries around the world is deeply problematic. Millions of pregnant women are pushed into hospitals, pushed onto their back and cut open. They are subject to unnecessary pharmaceutical and surgical interventions that their care providers openly admit to imposing on them for reasons of finance and convenience. Women around the world are waking up to the fact that childbirth doesn’t have to be like this and it shouldn’t. Disrespect and abuse are not the necessary price of safety”.
When pregnant with her second child, Anna Ternovsky took her country to the European Court of Human Rights and won a landmark case that has major implications for childbirth around the world.
Toni Harman, one of the filmmakers says, “the Ternovsky vs Hungary ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 means that now in Europe, every birthing woman has the legal right to decide where and how she gives birth. And across the world, it means that if a woman feels like her Human Rights are being violated because her birth choices are not being fully supported, she could use the power of the law to protect those rights. With the release of “Freedom For Birth”, we hope millions of women become aware of their legal rights and so our film has the potential to spark a revolution in maternity care across the world.”
Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), says: “A safe childbirth should be a fundamental human right for women. Sadly, for many, many millions of women and their babies across the world this is not the case. The world is desperately short of the people who can help to ensure and deliver this human right; midwives. There is a real need for leaders of nations to invest in midwifery care in their countries. I hope that the making of this film which the RCM is supporting with a screening will go a long way to help make skilled maternity care a reality for those women who currently do not have access to it.”
Lesley Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives adds, “Too many women across the world are dying or suffering terribly because of a lack of skilled maternity care. This is unacceptable and I call on all Governments across the world to give women the right and access to safe care in pregnancy and childbirth.”
Ms. Hayes-Klein concludes, “Freedom For Birth” holds the answer to changing the system. Birth will change when women realise they have a right to meaningful support for childbirth and claim that right. Birth will change when women stand up against the abuses that are currently suffered in such high numbers and say, No More.”
Additional information about Freedom For Birth can be found on the website: http://freedomforbirth.com
By Stephanie Dawn, ASLP
Founder, Sacred Birth Mentor Program
P.A.M. embraces Dr. Odent’s opinion that pregnant women should stay as peaceful as possible. We recommend that if you are pregnant to pleases be aware that some of the topics covered in this film are not. This film is providing important information to encourage dialogue and change.