Midwives, along with other health professionals, have been on the back foot in recent years. Reeling from attacks on the profession in the name of ‘safety’ by those in positions of authority who probably mean well but have never attended a birth, midwives find it increasingly difficult to fight for women’s choices for fear of blame if there are complications. Midwives, doctors and nurses have all been scapegoated as individuals for systemic, institutional failings, with Agnes Gereb facing prison for her part in facilitating home and birth centre births in Hungary.
However, a few glimmers of light have appeared on the horizon. We at ARM rejoice in the statement jointly issued by the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics. We print the press release (below) and applaud our colleagues at the ICM and FIGO for their courage in standing up for what is right.
ORGANISATIONS REPRESENTING 1.5 MILLION MIDWIVES AND DOCTORS WORLDWIDE, UNITE TO EXPRESS THEIR SUPPORT FOR Dr.AGNES GEREB, BIRTHING MOTHERS, MIDWIVES AND DOCTORS IN HUNGARY.
Today, the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) wrote to Hungarian President Janos Ader concerning the situation of Dr. Gereb.
The two federations represent 1.5 million midwives and gynecologists/obstetricians worldwide.
Dr. Gereb, the Hungarian midwife and obstetrician is currently facing a 2 year prison sentence and will now turn to Hungarian President Janos Ader to seek a clemency in the matter.
When expressing their support for Dr. Gereb in her application for clemency both ICM and FIGO stated that “It is our shared belief that women around the world have the right to excellent midwifery and/or obstetric care and we encourage and celebrate midwives and obstetricians who respect a woman’s right to make informed choices and decisions about her care during childbirth”.
Both organisations, through their respective presidents, said they believed that “midwives and obstetricians always have the right to first be investigated by their peers; that is, a professional hearing by experts from their own profession of midwives or obstetricians, respectively. Such a professional hearing should always precede the potential necessity of handling by police and investigation by a criminal court”.
To this end, both ICM and FIGO expressed their willingness to “offer our respective technical expertise to assist the Republic of Hungary where necessary, by giving opinion and feedback on its newly developed guidelines for home-birthing and for the structure of its health professional disciplinary processes”.
In concluding, ICM and FIGO respectfully urged President Ader to “uphold these respective rights for all women, midwives and obstetricians in your country”.
Click here for a copy of the letter.