Wednesday 14 March 2012

Conference on Ternovszky Judgment

On 31 May and 1 June the Hague University of Applied Sciences and Bynkershoek Institute's Research Center for Reproductive Rights are organising a conference on the consequences of the European Court's judgment in Ternovzsky v. Hungary on the right to give birth at home. The conference, entitled "human rights in childbirth", is in the organisers' words about the following:

What are the Rights and Responsibilities of Birthing Women?

Who decides how a baby is born? Who chooses where a birth takes place? Who bears the ultimate responsibility for a birth and its outcome? What are the legal rights of birthing women? What are the responsibilities of doctors, midwives and other caregivers in childbirth? What are the rights and interests of the unborn, and how are they protected?

This international conference will convene for discussion and clarity on the scope of birthing women's human rights to authority, support and choice in childbirth. In December, 2010, the European Court of Human Rights issued the first holding of a high human rights tribunal addressing the legal authority of birthing women as a human rights issue. In Ternovszky v. Hungary, the ECHR addressed the criminal prosecution of midwives in Hungary for supporting out-of-hospital births. The ECHR stated that the human right to privacy encompasses,

"inter alia, aspects of an individual's physical and social identity including the right to personal autonomy, personal development and to establish and develop relationships with other human beings and the outside world [cite omitted], and it incorporates the right to respect for both the decisions to become and not to become a parent [cite omitted]. The notion of a freedom implies some measure of choice as to its exercise. The notion of personal autonomy is a fundamental principle underlying the interpretation of the guarantees of Article 8 [cite omitted]. Therefore the right concerning the decision to become a parent includes the right of choosing the circumstances of becoming a parent. The Court is satisfied that the circumstances of giving birth incontestably form part of one's private life for the purposes of this provision; and the [Hungarian] Government did not contest this issue." (Ternovszky v. Hungary, no. 67545/09, 14 December 2010)

Registration to the conference can be done through this link.