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Obstetric Violence Blog 

The Obstetric Violence Blog offers a multidisciplinary platform for commentary, analysis, and critical reflection on established and emerging issues related to obstetric violence, disrespect and abuse during pregnancy and childbirth, and human rights in childbirth more generally. It aims to promote dialog and awareness of obstetric violence related issues between interested stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and across the globe. We welcome submissions from students, early career researchers, policymakers, academics from all relevant fields, lawyers, healthcare professionals and support services, civil society organisations and anyone with a vested interest in obstetric violence and abuse during childbirth which is broadly construed.

Blogs will not be peer-reviewed but will be reviewed by the editorial staff for relevance, originality, timeliness, topic, style, and focus. Blogs under consideration elsewhere or those already published on other platforms will not be considered. Before being posted on the CELLS website, editors will collaborate with authors to edit the piece. Twitter will be used to publicise blogs on publication (on submitting your blog post please provide details of your Twitter account or that of your research group so that we can tag you when sharing).

To submit a blog post for consideration, please read our Blog Guidelines

 

Blog Posts

Translating Sociological Theories of Obstetric Violence into Human Rights Doctrine

Eva Bredler kickstarts the blog series dedicated to exploring naming and framings of violations in maternity care. Her blog post exposes different constructions of violence in human rights law versus social sciences and offers encouraging insights into bridging this divide.
Blindfolded woman holding justice scales

An Analysis: Forced Symphysiotomies in Ireland and Informed Consent

This blog continues a series of posts exploring symphysiotomies without consent. Aoife Finnerty considers the purpose of the doctrine of informed consent and the notion that, despite the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, a wrong has been done to the women upon whom these symphysiotomies were performed.

Symphysiotomies as Obstetric Violence in the International Human Rights Framework

This blog continues a series of posts exploring symphysiotomies without consent. Zoe Tongue considers the comments made by international human rights bodies on symphysiotomies performed on Irish women, and their failure to categorise this practice as gender-based violence.

Symphysiotomy, ‘Bad Faith’ and ‘Past Standards’

This blog is the second in a series of posts exploring symphysiotomies without consent. Máiréad Enright explores the European Court of Human Right’s questionable reliance on ‘bad faith’ and ‘past standards’, and highlights its failure to engage with the structural injustices and collective norms that enabled this form of obstetric violence.

Litigating Unauthorised Vaginal Examinations

This blog forms part of a series of blogs that showcase the important contributions published in Women’s Birthing Bodies and the Law: Unauthorised Intimate Examinations, Power and Vulnerability (2020). In her chapter, Andrea Mulligan considers possible avenues to bring a civil claim against a hospital or healthcare professional in the case of unwanted examinations. Her post outlines some of the legal complexities in this area and underscores the importance of the views of women seeking redress.

The Irish Symphysiotomy Cases in the ECtHR: Focusing on Procedure to the Exclusion of Substance

This blog marks the first in a series of posts dedicated to exploring symphysiotomies without consent, an issue that has received recent attention as a result of three cases concerning non-consensual symphysiotomies performed on women in Ireland, all of which were dismissed by the European Court of Human Rights. In the first blog in our series, Conor O’Mahony comments on the three cases and the shortcomings of the ECtHR’s approach to this issue.

The Husband-Stitch: Could it be Female Genital Mutilation?

Saarrah Ray explores the harmful practice of the ‘husband stitch’. She situates it within the broader context of female genital mutilation and argues that it is a practice that should be recognised as a criminal offence, under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
Stitches

‘The Illusion of Choice’: Advance Directives in Pregnancy in Ireland

Aoife Finnerty examines the role that pregnancy exceptions to advance directive laws play in legitimising obstetric violence in the form of non-consensual treatment. Her insightful contribution highlights the issues with Ireland’s new capacity law, which is expected to be commenced in 2022 and with similar laws from the United States.

COVID-19: Escalating the Threat to Autonomy and Rights during Childbirth

This blog forms part of a series of blogs that showcase the important contributions published in Women’s Birthing Bodies and the Law: Unauthorised Intimate Examinations, Power and Vulnerability (2020). In her chapter, ‘Human Rights and Gender Stereotypes in Childbirth’ Christina Zampas offers an impactful account and analysis of the influence of gender stereotyping in childbirth.

Implied Consent to Vaginal Examination

This blog forms part of a series of blogs that showcase the important contributions published in Women’s Birthing Bodies and the Law: Unauthorised Intimate Examinations, Power and Vulnerability (2020). Jonathan Herring’s chapter, ‘Implied Consent and Vaginal Examination in Pregnancy’, offers a much-needed explanation about why implied consent is not an acceptable form of consent for vaginal examinations during labour.

When a Uterus Enters the Room, Reason Goes Out the Window

This blog forms part of a series of blogs that showcase the important contributions published in Women’s Birthing Bodies and the Law: Unauthorised Intimate Examinations, Power and Vulnerability (2020). Stella Villarmea’s chapter offers a philosophical interrogation into the underlying reasons why it is ‘so obvious’ to some that women lack capacity for rational thought during labour and childbirth.

What is in a Sexual Assault?

This blog forms part of a series of blogs that showcase contributions published in Women’s Birthing Bodies and the Law: Unauthorised Intimate Examinations, Power and Vulnerability (2020). Catarina Sjölin investigates the application of the Sexual Offences Act to unauthorised vaginal examinations and her post underscores some concerning difficulties that stem from the neutral and simple language in the Act.