I have a launched a High Court challenge against the HSE and the Department of Health seeking judicial review of their refusal to grant me a home birth.
As the case progresses I will post updates to this blog.
I have started this process because I believe in a person’s right to self-determination. On principle, I believe that expectant mothers can and should make informed decisions regarding their maternity care; that it is their decision that should be the final arbiter, not anyone else’s – including medical staff. In my case, I want to deliver my child at home, but the point of the case is to fully support any woman’s decision to birth how and when she decides; be that at home, in an obstetric unit or a midwifery-led unit.
I have brought this case because of the HSE’s refusal to allow me to have a home birth with the assistance of a midwife. HSE policy along with changes in the law mean that it is no longer possible for any expectant mother to have a home birth unless they fit within a rigid criteria; I cannot access one publicly, or privately. When the HSE refused my application for home birth, they did not assess me as an individual mother and imposed a blanket policy. I have right to autonomy and family rights, which are guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights and our Constitution. I am seeking to vindicate my rights.
Of course, medical evidence and care is absolutely critical during this time; I have been very careful to avail of excellent medical advice during this period, and I have every intention of continuing to do so. However, ultimately, I claim and take responsibility for the decisions made regarding me, my body, my baby, my birth and my family. I have personal and family rights, and I intend to exercise them.
After my first child was born by caesarean section in an obstetric unit, my husband and I decided that we wanted to avail of a home-birth for our second child. We examined many sources of information to assist us in coming to this conclusion; peer-reviewed articles in medical journals, publicly available statistical reports such as those generated by the ESRI, and web-sites belonging to organisations involved in birth e.g. AIMS Ireland (aimsireland.com) and the Home Birth Association (homebirth.ie).
We considered the safety of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), and examined the risks associated with it, as well as how those risks could be best managed. It is our considered opinion that the home setting offers us the best chance of successfully delivering our baby in private, in a respectful environment, and in safety.
If you want to support me and my family in this review process, we would very much appreciate it if you used this site to send emails affirming your support to the Minister for Health, to some of the main decisions makers on the Steering Committee in the HSE, to all the female TDs, and to some others.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.