What is “Obstetric Violence”?

Most women don't even consider that their rights might be abused, or their bodies sexually violated, during birth, but sadly it does happen. Just because the sexual violation may not be erotic, to have instruments and hands put on or in you without your consent is still considered sexual abuse, whether you are in labor or not. 

Most women accept this type of abuse as part of the birthing process, a necessary evil to get their babies here.  In fact, they don't even define it as abuse, and almost wear this type of treatment as some type or martyr-istic badge after the birth.  But is it necessary?  Recently in Venezuela, a new law has been enacted that protect pregnant and birthing women, and increases the chances of autonomy and respect during this most sacred process, as reported by the Unnecessarean.  

"The following acts executed by care providers are considered obstetric violence:

(1) Untimely and ineffective attention of obstetric emergencies; (2) Forcing the woman to give birth in a supine position, with legs raised, when the necessary means to perform a vertical delivery are available; (3) Impeding the early attachment of the child with his/her mother without a medical cause thus preventing the early attachment and blocking the possibility of holding, nursing or breast-feeding immediately after birth; (4) Altering the natural process of low-risk delivery by using acceleration techniques, without obtaining voluntary, expressed and informed consent of the woman; (5) Performing delivery via cesarean section, when natural childbirth is possible, without obtaining voluntary, expressed, and informed consent from the woman.

In these cases, the person or persons responsible are subject to a fine of two hundred and fifty (250 TU) to five hundred tax units (500 TU) and the court will submit a copy of the sentence to the professional body or union responsible for disciplinary actions."

Holding obstetric personnel responsible for their actions is so often thrown by the wayside in the U.S., one would hope that Venezuela's actions has a ripple effect into the global birth community.  

For more information on avoiding unnecessary intervention in birth visit Birthologie.com



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