Health and Human Rights
I won't pretend that these are typical of the kind of books AIMS reviews, and I rather hope that they won't be needed by most of our readers. I am also aware that they are very specific, and more than a little dry if your interest in the law is fleeting, and with that in mind, this review is intentionally very brief.
I was sent these books for review, and my first thought was to put them on the shelf to do later... Then I thought that if I did that they may well remain there, unopened, so I flicked through and then read them. Both books look at the law as it stands as well as the history of reproductive laws and policies, and helps put it into context, but they do tend towards the American. Both explore those areas where law, public opinion, medical practice and a woman's individual needs meet, overlap, diverge and conflict. Both are heavily referenced, but I was a little surprised at the lack of midwifery, feminist or autonomy texts used in either book, and the language is sadly more medical than woman-centered - the use of the word 'delivery' rather than 'birth', for example, is pervasive. Having said that, these books are clearly aimed at medics, scholars and lawyers, rather than women, and perhaps that is intentional to make the reader feel comfortable whilst introducing some concepts that will deeply challenge their ways of working.
They are, in all honesty, probably no better for woman making decisions in the UK than the AIMS book 'Am I Allowed?' and they aren't cheap
However, what I will say is that I think they are a concise and accessible and that they should be on the shelf and used as a reference manual by all managers, supervisors and commissioners of maternity services. I also think that if you are involved in a complaint, campaign or quest for care that is right for you then these two books might well be very useful, not only in exploring your rights, but also (and this, I think, might be one of their most valuable uses) as a starting point for discussions, negotiations and statements of intent.
I also suspect that, whilst these books are not ever going to be a substitute for good and experienced legal advice from those who have an in-depth knowledge, they might well be a huge help in asking the right questions to sift out those who do have the right legal expertise for your situation should you find yourself in a position where you want or need it.
My favourite quotes are both from the section on caesarean delivery on maternal request; '... a longer list of choices may well not be experienced by those making the choice as autonomy-enhancing.' I agree completely, and the second; 'This is exactly why we need a robust feminist conception of reproductive autonomy - to preserve the space in which each woman can make her reproductive decisions for herself.'
As a compliment to the support offered by organisations working with AIMS, such as Birthrights and M4M, we should be making sure that those who make the policies know the law, and accessible explanations from multiple angles might help achieve that.
Complete list of book reviews on the AIMS website AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 1 Give Birth like a Feminist : Your body. Your baby. Your choices. By Milli Hill Publishe…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 1 By Jo Dagustun Everyone working to improve maternity services knows very well how the mass media is a really important force in the debat…Read more
AIMS Journal, 2020, Vol 32, No 1 Interview by Jo Dagustun For this issue, as we mark the 4 th anniversary of Better Births, the AIMS Campaigns team were keen to invite Ja…Read more
Registration for the NICE Annual Conference 2020 will open on 22 January 2020. For more details and to register your interest, please visit http://www.niceconference.org.…Read more
The theme of IMUK's 2020 National Conference 2020 is The Science Behind The Art of Midwifery. Speakers to be announced and tickets will be released soon. Information is a…Read more
21-25 October 2020 The theme for this year's Midwifery Today conference is Birthing in Love: Everyone’s Right. Classes will include: Clinical sessions such as Hemorrhage,…Read more
AIMS Birth Information Information about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for pregnant women in the UK and links to information sources can be found here . We ai…Read more
UN sends strong message to Spain, following a complaint to them from a Spanish mother, that their maternity care system must respect human rights. AIMS has commented on t…Read more
An article titled " Women in labour being refused epidurals, official inquiry finds " appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday 3rd March. AIMS fully supports individuals havin…Read more