Protecting human rights in childbirth

Registered Charity Number 1151152

Campaigns & Research

From national inquiries to legal interventions and pioneering research, we campaign and use our expertise to influence and improve services and practice throughout the maternity system in the UK.

In 2013, Birthrights was set up by Elizabeth Prochaska, a human rights barrister, and Rebecca Schiller, a doula and writer on birth, parenting and women’s rights with the mission to ensure that human rights are protected during pregnancy and childbirth. We focus on changes to policy and practice that are most likely to catalyse systemic change and use the law to uphold rights-respecting, person centred-care. We listen to you – women and birthing people and those who deliver maternity care – and the wider maternity, health and legal sectors to develop our policy and public affairs work and use our expertise to influence and improve services and practice throughout the maternity system in the UK.

We take your concerns to Government and key stakeholder councils and steering groups such as the Maternity Transformation Programme Stakeholder Council, the NHS iDecide steering group and other key campaign roundtables and research institutions and groups. Since we were founded in 2013, we have launched public campaigns on Racial Injustice in Maternity Care, Rights respecting care during the COVID-19 pandemicDignity in Childbirth and Maternal Request Caesareans.

We have also formed a close partnership with Birth Companions to enable us to better reach, understand and shine a spotlight on the most disadvantaged women and birthing people; jointly intervened in legal cases with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) and supported their policy and parliamentary work on reproductive rights.

We collaborate with organisations that have the most influence over mandatory training and guidance for healthcare professionals, to embed a human rights approach to maternity care across their teaching and learning, best practice and operational guidance. This includes the Royal College of MidwivesRoyal College of Obstetricians and GynaecologistsNursing and Midwifery CouncilGeneral Medical Council and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).