Birthing women are not objects to be processed

24 June 2014


Birthing women are not objects to be processed
First public forum on birthing options set


Manila, Philippines – Should home birth be legal and encouraged for mothers with low-risk pregnancies? Is the axiom “once caesarean always a caesarean” still valid? Is the pain relief offered at childbirth all that harmless? And who has the ultimate control over one’s pregnant body and the well-being of the child?


These and many other questions will be discussed during the First Public Forum on Birthing Options entitled, “Gentle Birth Made Possible” set on June 28, 2014 at the College for Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), University of the Philippines-Diliman. The Forum is open to everyone interested in the topic, especially expecting mothers, and women who already have or planning to have children and their families.


The initiative is spearheaded by the Arugaan Foundation, WomanHealth Philippines, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) and the Department of Women and Development Studies of CSWCD, UP Diliman. The event is tied up to the recently celebrated June 6 International Homebirth Day and the International Week for Respecting Childbirth observed in the third week of May.


“The way we give birth matters a lot, both for the health of the child and for the well-being of the mother,” says Velvet Escario-Roxas, deputy executive director of Arugaan, who was recently recognized for her tireless work on breastfeeding advocacy by the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino Award. “Unfortunately, there is an increased medicalization of birth practices both globally and in the Philippines, which does not necessarily benefit the child or the mother. Women are losing control of their birth experience, often ending up with unwarranted medical interventions, which interfere with the normal physiological birth process. It is no wonder that recent studies show one-third of women describing their birthing experience as traumatic.”


In a country such as the Philippines, which is still struggling with high maternal mortality rates, maternal health is narrowly viewed in terms of survival. However, a woman’s rights during childbirth is not only limited to surviving childbirth. She also has the right to autonomy, privacy, and freedom from discrimination.

“It is important to realise that birthing women are not objects to be processed during childbirth, as if a production line,” emphasizes Escario-Roxas, “they are human beings and citizens with full claims upon human rights and proper healthcare. We are organizing this forum to raise awareness among the public, especially women of child-bearing age, that we have a lot of options. We hope to spread the word that giving birth can be a gentle, joyful and even enjoyable process—be it at home, birthing centre or hospital, as long as the woman feels supported and respected with her choices.”


“Gentle Birth Made Possible” Public Forum on Birthing Options will take place on Saturday, June 28 from 1 pm to 4 pm at the AVR (ground floor) of the College for Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD), UP Diliman.


For more information, please contact:

Cheryl Chan-Wong
Mobile: +639175356700