October 24, 2019
Lamaze Signs on to and Supports the Respectful Maternity Care Charter for Universal Rights of Women and Newborns
By: Cara Terreri | 0 Comments
Recently, Lamaze International signed on to endorse The White Ribbon Alliance's Respectful Maternity Care Charter. This charter clearly defines the rights owed to women and newborns when receiving maternity care in health care facilities worldwide.
A charter, like this one and many others before it, is created to give an organization or country a set of guidelines, rights, principles, boundaries, and/or a foundation. When rights are clearly defined, they can be defended! Historically, we have not identified childbearing people and newborns as a specific, vulnerable populations that needs special rights. But the truth is, mothers and babies are being mistreated, injured, and killed during the time around birth in countries around the world -- they need special protection.
The Respectful Maternity Care Charter: The Universal Rights of Women and Newborns was created by The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA), an organization that works through a vast network to activate global movement for reproductive, maternal, and newborn health and rights. WRA envisions a world where all girls and women realize their right to quality health and well-being because they believe that when women are healthy, so are their children, families, communities, and countries.
The Respectful Maternity Care Charter was developed based on the results of the What Women Want campaign results, which asked 1 million women and girls around the world about their top priorities for quality maternal and reproductive health care services. The charter aims to bring those demands to health leaders around the world. Specifically, the Respectful Maternity Care Charter calls for:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom from harm and ill-treatment.
No one is allowed to physically hurt you or your newborn. You should both be taken care of in a gentle and compassionate way and receive assistance when experiencing pain or discomfort.
2. Everyone has the right to information, informed consent, and respect for their choices and preferences, including companion of choice during maternity care and refusal of medical procedures.
No one is allowed to force you or do things to you or your newborn without your knowledge or consent. Every woman has the right to autonomy, to receive information, and provide informed consent or refusal for care. Every parent or guardian has the right to receive information and provide informed consent or refusal for their newborn’s care, in the newborn’s best interests, unless otherwise provided by law.
3. Everyone has the right to privacy and confidentiality.
No one is allowed to share your or your newborn’s personal or medical information, including all records and images, without your consent. Yours’ and your newborn’s privacy must be protected, except as necessary for healthcare providers to convey information for continuity of care.
4. Everyone is their own person from the moment of birth and has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
No one is allowed to humiliate, verbally abuse, speak about or touch you or your newborn in a degrading or disrespectful manner. You and your newborn baby must be cared for with respect and compassion.
5. Everyone has the right to equality, freedom from discrimination and equitable care.
No one is allowed to discriminate against you or your newborn because of something they think or do not like about either one of you. Equality requires that pregnant women have the same protections under the law as they would when they are not pregnant, including the right to make decisions about what happens to their body.
6. Everyone has the right to healthcare and to the highest attainable level of health.
No one may prevent you or your newborn from getting the healthcare needed or deny or withhold care from either one of you. You and your newborn are entitled to the highest quality care, provided in a timely manner, in a clean and safe environment, by providers who are trained in current best practices.
7. Everyone has the right to liberty, autonomy, self-determination and freedom from arbitrary detention.
No one is allowed to detain you or your newborn in a healthcare facility, even if you cannot pay for services received.
8. Every child has the right to be with their parents or guardians.
No one is allowed to separate you from your newborn without your consent. You and your newborn have the right to remain together at all times, even if your newborn is born small, premature or with medical conditions that require extra care.
9. Every child has the right to an identity and nationality from birth.
No one is allowed to deny your newborn birth registration, even if they die shortly after birth, or deny the nationality your newborn is legally entitled to.
10. Everyone has the right to adequate nutrition and clean water.
No one is allowed to prevent you and your newborn from having adequate nutrition, clean water or a healthy environment. You have the right to information and support on child nutrition and the advantages of breastfeeding.
Lamaze International is delighted to be a signatory on the White Ribbon Alliance's Respectful Maternity Care Charter. We stand with many other international maternal-infant health organizations to center the rights of parents and their newborns.
Lamaze International President Christen Sadler shared that this charter is important “because it digs down beneath morbidity and mortality statistics to articulate the broader sociocultural issues at work in maternal newborn care. It also grounds maternity care in international human rights legal precedent, which really brings childbearing individuals into the light of day. They are not a fringe population, easily ignored. They are subject to the same legal protections as everyone else. That is a huge concept!”
In addition to your organization standing behind this charter, you can become an individual part of a global movement that improves the lives of women and infants? Join The White Ribbon Alliance and volunteer your time or donate money for funding.
TagsCara Terreri Lamaze International Maternal Infant Care White Ribbon Alliance Maternal Infant Health Global Health Respectful Maternity Care Charter