Pregnant Bulgarian Woman Fights Court Battle to Be Able to Deliver at Home under Medical Supervision

Pregnant Bulgarian Woman Fights Court Battle to Be Able to Deliver at Home under Medical Supervision

A pregnant Bulgarian women is fighting a court battle to be able to deliver her baby at home under medical supervision, said the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) Wednesday. She has taken her case to the European Court of Human Rights with legal assistance from the BHC.

Bulgarian legislation makes it imperative to give birth in hospital and medical staff who assist birth at another location, including home delivery, face penalty.

The plaintiff, who is identified by the BHC only with her initial, D., wants the court to oblige the state not to apply administrative and penal measures against the medics who would assist her forthcoming delivery at home.

The BHC also wants to Court to consider the case as a priority.

This will be D’s third delivery. The previous two, both of them in a hospital, are described by the BHC as traumatic and accompanied by pressure and humiliation.

The BHC argues that the pressure that Bulgarian legislation puts on women to give birth, against their will, in conditions of institutionalized hospital environment, where delivery is treated as a medical risk rather that as a natural process, and is managed by doctors against the will and dignity of the woman, as well as against the health needs of her child, is a gross violation of her right to personal and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

The plaintiff bore her first child in 2008 and her second in 2012. The first proceeded by medical practices undertaken in spite of her express refusal: the doctors administered Oxytocin and Prostaglandin to stimulate contractions in spite of her desire for a natural birth, and applied the Kristeller maneuvre, as a result of which the baby was born with a broken clavicle, hematoma, oedema on the head and had difficult adaptation.

D’s baby was given baby formula against her will and she was not allowed to see it in the first two days after delivery.

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