Obstetric Violence a New Legal Term Introduced in Venezuela

“COME ON, SMILE! This is the most important day of your life. The midwife was optimistic. But Agustina, a 38-year-old actress and new mother, was shocked. That was in 2012; she had just undergone a caesarean section in a hospital in Argentina. Her obstetrician, she believes, had made the operation more likely by inserting hormones into her vagina during an examination without explanation. Perez D`Gregorio, R. (2010). Obstetric violence: a new legal concept introduced in Venezuela. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics: 111(3), 201-202. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2010.09.002 South America is known for its astronomical caesarean section rates. It is less known for its groundbreaking human rights laws. But obstetrics and human rights clashed in a remarkable new law passed in Venezuela in 2010 that criminalizes “obstetric violence.” It is described in an editorial published in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics by Dr. Rogelio Pérez D`Gregorio, a Venezuelan obstetrician.

Obstetric violence is defined in the “Organic Law on Women`s Right to a Nonviolent Life” because Dr. D`Gregorio does not say whether anyone else has been prosecuted for obstetric violence, but regardless of whether the new law is widely used or not, it is a very strong social statement that supports women`s autonomy in childbirth. It is rare for unwanted interventions at birth to be described as violent (as opposed to traumatic or simply unpleasant), but this is of course how many women experience it, and it is very encouraging that the term is included in the legal lexicon. Basically, the Venezuelan definition of obstetric violence recognizes that the choices women make in a medicalized system may not be free and properly informed. They may be performed under the influence of veiled threats to their child`s safety or in response to a limited range of options presented by a physician with a personal interest in a particular outcome. As Venezuelan law suggests, a comprehensive understanding of the concept of consent must be adopted to address these concerns. Governments are beginning to focus on training. Brazil`s Ministry of Health has launched a program that focuses on women`s rights in obstetrics at about 100 teaching hospitals. A similar programme in Argentina has contributed to the reduction of infant and maternal mortality. PTSD and obstetric violence.

Midwifery Today with an International Midwife 2013(105): 48-9 68, 2013 In 2007, Venezuela became the first country to legally define and criminalize “obstetric violence.” This is “the appropriation of women`s bodies and reproductive processes by health professionals”. Similar laws followed in Argentina, Bolivia and Panama. Other measures are more practical. In 2001, Uruguay granted pregnant women the right to be accompanied during childbirth. This month, Puebla, a Mexican state, was classified as obstetric violence that films a birth without the mother`s consent. In addition, obstetric violence.” The appropriation of women`s bodies and reproductive processes by health workers, which manifests itself in dehumanized treatment, drug abuse and the transformation of natural processes into pathological processes, resulting in loss of autonomy and the ability to freely decide about their bodies and sexuality, which negatively affects women`s quality of life. While activists focus on pressure and punishment, some governments and international organizations try to be less confrontational, starting with the language they use to describe the problem. Last year, Rio de Janeiro`s Regional Medical Council, which oversees doctors, said the term “obstetric violence” was “coined to defame her.” The Pan American Health Organization prefers to speak of “abuse during childbirth” because “often the mere mention [of obstetric violence] closes us to the possibility of dialogue,” says Bremen De Mucio, a counselor with the group.

She plans to launch a seminar on respectful maternal care by October. It then lists specific obstetric acts that constitute obstetric violence, including forcing the woman to give birth in a supine position, using acceleration techniques, and performing caesarean sections without obtaining the woman`s “voluntary, explicit and informed consent.” Health professionals convicted of obstetric violence may be fined and referred to their disciplinary authority. How common is obstetric violence? Do you think the term is appropriate? Why or why not? Obstetric violence is a term coined in Venezuela. An editorial in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics defines obstetric violence as: interpersonal violence in street rage.