There has been a lot of discussion in the pregnancy and birth world about the Irish case of Aja Teehan, who wanted to have a homebirth after cesarean (HBAC).  Irish midwives are professionally prohibited from attending homebirths that are considered too risky, and vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) risks a woman out of homebirth.

The question posed was whether the woman had the RIGHT to homebirth.  This leads to some interesting questions about rights and whose rights they are.

In pregnancy and birth, there are several interested parties who may or may not have “rights” in various health-related decisions.  These people include the woman, the man who impregnated her, the person who will be raising the child with her, the fetus/infant, and the practitioners providing reproductive health care and medical services.

For instance, there are rights around getting pregnant.  Here we might ask

During pregnancy

During labor and birth

The links in the questions above are not all-encompassing, but are examples of issues implicit in these questions.  May we always remember that a woman is a human being whether there is a fetus in her uterus or not.