I have been working with the international organization Human Rights in Childbirth for about six months, getting to know the founders and feeling my way around the organizational structure. Recently, I was asked to be on the newly expanded HRiC board of directors, which I gladly accepted. HRiC’s mission and values align perfectly with my beliefs that people always have the choice to make the decisions about their care, regardless if those choices fall inside or outside the standard of care. Often what is practiced in medicine, particularly in obstetrics, is not evidenced-based or even compassionate, but rather based on efficiency, provider opinion, and “that’s just how it is done.” HRiC’s goal is to amplify the voices of people in their own communities, to network, and to share legal tools to help create change in maternity systems.
Hermine Hayes- Klein, founder of HRiC, joined with other attorneys representing Birth Rights Bar Association, Improving Birth, and International Cesarean Awareness Network, in writing an amicus curiae brief to highlight the rights of people to refuse care/interventions in the US maternity care system. An amicus brief is a legal opinion or testimony not solicited by any parties in a legal suit. In this case, these organizations wanted to bring attention to the considerable informed consent and refusal negligence seen in maternity care today, which is an under-identified violation of rights in this country. See links below for full text.