Protecting human rights in childbirth

Registered Charity Number 1151152

Birthrights Chair and Co-Founder Elizabeth Prochaska steps down after 10 years 

Birthrights has today announced that our co-founder and current chair of the Board Elizabeth Prochaska is stepping down after leading the charity through its first ten years. 

We want to extend a special thank you to Elizabeth – who co-founded Birthrights along with Rebecca Schiller – for her incredible leadership, passion and legal expertise.  

Joint Chief Executives Shanthi Gunesekera and Janaki Mahadevan said:

“Under Elizabeth’s leadership, in the last three years alone we have secured changes in NHS Trust policies including securing removal of a blanket ban on maternal request c-sections and the reintroduction of a home birth service.

“Thanks to Elizabeth’s vision, the publication of the seminal research on the experiences of maternity care for Black and Brown women and birthing people continues to be cited in reports from the Women and Equalities Select Committee to the parliamentary Maternity Disparities Taskforce.

“Through our rights-based factsheets and information and advice service we have supported tens of thousands of women in their search for birth justice; and delivered training to hospitals, regulators, universities, birth workers, and ambulance services.” 

Reflecting on her decade with Birthrights, Elizabeth commented:

“It’s been an incredible privilege to chair Birthrights over the last 10 years. When we set out, human rights weren’t part of the conversation in maternity care, but our work has changed that and made a real difference to the lives of women and birthing people.

“Birthrights is needed now more than ever, when maternity care is in deep crisis and racism and injustice continue to cause profound harm. I know that the organisation will thrive in the hands of our wonderful CEOs, Shanthi and Janaki, who have the support of a passionate and diverse board of trustees, and I can’t wait to see what it does over the next decade.”

Human rights lawyer Elizabeth will be stepping down this month to focus on writing her upcoming book. Birthrights would like to wish Elizabeth every success with this new, exciting period in her life.  

We remain grateful for all she has done to help us in our mission to champion rights by empowering and supporting women and birthing people, training healthcare professionals, holding systems and institutions to account and making visible the diverse experiences of maternity care. 

If you are interested in applying to be our new Chair, please follow the link: Chairperson – Inclusive Boards 

The deadline for applications is November 12 2023.