Under the Human Rights Act 1998, pregnant women have the right to receive maternity care and to make their own choices about that care. The standards of care they are given must respect their dignity.
The Human Rights Act protects your dignity, privacy, equality and autonomy and requires all public bodies, including hospitals and Social Services, to treat pregnant women with dignity, to obtain their informed consent and respect their decisions.
The UK has also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. This prohibits pregnancy-related discrimination and requires the provision of healthcare for pregnant and lactating women.
AIMS works with women on many issues that are covered by Human Rights legislation. These include
These and many other situations may violate human rights and do lead to women being degraded and disempowered.
Issues for the LGBT+ community
There are many challenges faced by the LGBT+ community, in particular in Maternity Services, for trans and non-binary people, not least that the law does not recognise some of their basic human rights in pregnancy and birth. For instance, when they register the birth of their child, they are not able to register themselves as their correct gender. A trans man who has given birth must be referred to on his child’s birth certificate as the mother, when he might wish to be registered as the father.
Stonewall’s document ‘A Vision for Change - Acceptance without exception for trans people 2017-2020, gives clear information on this subject. Acts such as the Equality Act 2010 states, for example, ‘a woman cannot be discriminated against for breastfeeding in public’. It is unclear whether the law would therefore protect a trans man, non-binary person or anyone else who is not a woman but is feeding their baby from their body if they were treated differently for doing so. In order to safeguard their rights and claim their legal protection, they may have no option but to formally submit to being a woman, despite the distress that this may cause. Other rights, for instance those to body autonomy, and the right to make their own decisions, are not affected by LGBTQ+ status".
AIMS works closely with Birthrights, a charity dedicated to promoting respect for human rights from the legal perspective – www.birthrights.org.uk
AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Editor’s note: AIMS is honoured to present Mariamni’s research study in which she interviews 10 women who gave birth without a healthcare…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Interview by Alex Smith Hello Rebecca, thank you for agreeing to answer some questions about your work with Make Birth Better. I wonder i…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2023, Vol 35, No 4 Editor’s note: This is a fictional account of the state of mind of a mother suffering postnatal illness. As such, it is a powerful and di…Read more
‘The Foundation Stones for Supporting the Physiological Process in Pregnancy and Birth’ is led by Alex Smith (AIMS Journal Editor and Helpline volunteer) supported by Deb…Read more
Join us for the an interactive online AIMS workshop " Focus on Resolution " with Dr Rebecca Moore . Rebecca who is a Consultant Psychiatrist and founding member of Make B…Read more
This conference will discuss next steps for NICE in delivering innovation and supporting clinical practice in health and social care in England. It is bringing stakeholde…Read more
AIMS Campaigns Team volunteers are presenting a poster about our campaign for Physiology-Informed Maternity Services at the 2023 conference of the British Intrapartum Car…Read more
This is a review of the paper (https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1004259%20 ) published on July 20, 2023 by researchers at St George’…Read more
The evidence on whether there is a benefit in inducing labour if a pregnancy would otherwise last beyond 41 or 42 weeks is far from clear. 1 The SWEPIS study 2 , publishe…Read more