Many Eastern European countries have strict regulations on midwifery and homebirths; and in Hungary the government often views participation in home birthing as criminal. In every instance a midwife calls for emergency services during a delivery, the government initiates criminal proceedings against the midwife involved. In 2010, the government detained a midwife and well-known leader of the international home birth movement after she called an ambulance for a patient and charged her with negligent malpractice. As a result, previous UAF grantee, the Hungarian Birth House Association (SKE) planned a national campaign, set to launch in October 2011 on the one-year anniversary of the midwife’s detainment. This national campaign will work toward amending the existent homebirth legislation so that midwives actions’ at homebirth incidents would no longer be brought before the criminal court system and to absolve midwives currently charged. Rather than the criminal court system, SKE’s campaign proposes to amend the legislation to establish a professional medical committee to review current and any future birthing incidents. After learning from colleagues that the 11th International Meeting on Women and Health in Brussels-to be held in September-would be an ideal arena in which to gain crucial international support for the campaign, SKE requested funds to attend the convening. They planned to garner international support for the campaign by speaking at the event and networking with women’s groups from countries in the region, many of which face similar challenges.
SKE set out to protect and represent pregnant mothers, women giving birth, newborns and families, to work towards ensuring that the right to undisturbed, natural birth is accepted in law and in society, and to protect and represent healthcare professionals that offer assistance in undisturbed birth.