Κυριακή, 24 Μαρτίου 2013

Question from Democratic Left’s MPs for the necessity of regulating home births in Greece


Press Release from the party of Democratic Left 13/03/2013
Re: Question from Democratic Left’s MPs for the necessity of regulating home births
Submitted to the Minister for Health
There is a serious contradiction arising from the Health Minister’s statement about cutting the birth allowance and the restriction of its granting only to mothers who give birth in hospitals, whilst nurse staff and parents now run the risk of persecution if they choose to carry a birth at home.
For the first time in Greece, a court of law at Thessaloniki ruled against a registered and trained midwife because a woman who gave birth at home suffered from a rupture of perineum at a point where it is a common practice to remove pre-emptively the perineum (episiotomy) when the birth takes place at a hospital.
This ruling generated an enquiry, which lead to the persecution of 78 people (6 doctors, one midwife and 71 parents), the doctors are charged for ‘false certification’, the parents for ‘instigating a false certification’ and the midwife for ‘environmental polution’. The charge for environmental pollution is affecting the other people charged and has to do with the handling of the placenta which the authorities treated it as a ‘hazardus polluting material which poses a danger to public health’.
In addition to this, and whilst the home birth is targeted by the judicial authorities, the Health Ministry has allowed for the possibility of home birth at the new guidance of the National Organisation for Provision of Health Services (EOPYY). In particular it states that when a woman gives birth in a hospital only the hospital costs are covered and she is not entitled for an allowance. But ‘in case of a birth taking place outside health institutions a one-off sum of 900 euros, 1200 euros for twins and 1600 euros for triplets will be granted. The term births includes for the birth of a dead featus older 25 weeks.
Given the above and according to the case law precedent of the European Court of Human Rights (Ternovsky v. Hungary (no. 67545/09), of 14.12.2010), the right to privacy and to family, includes the right to choose the conditions of birth, the absense of a regulatory framework that allows for this constitutes a violation of the said right.
The Minister is called to clarify and confirm:
Does he intend to provide a legal framework that will allow homebirths so as to avoid a new ruling against Greece from the ECHR and to avoid criminal charges of health professional and parents who choose this way to give birth?
Does he intend to ensure the safety of home births by strengthening the infrastructure to allow an immediate transfer of mothers and babies at a hospital if there are medical complications?
The MPs
Nikos Tsoukalis
Dimitris Anagnostakis
Maria Yiannakaki
Yiorgos Kiritsis
Grigoris Psarianos

Translation by Nikos Charalambus, for the Hellenic Action for Human Rights