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Alle Informationen (in Englisch) auf der Website von Agnes Gerebs Sohn » www.birth.hu

The Guardian, England 25.März 2011

» http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/25/midwife-agnes-gereb-home-births-jailed
Hungarian home births champion sentenced to two years in prison
Midwife Agnes Gereb found guilty of medical negligence and banned from practising for five years

An obstetrician considered the main advocate for home births in Hungary has been sentenced to two years in prison for malpractice, just weeks after the government decided to regulate the activity. Agnes Gereb was found guilty of medical negligence in two separate home births, including one in which the baby died. She will spend at least a year behind bars before parole and was also banned from practising as an obstetrician and a midwife for five years. Lawyers representing Gereb and several other midwives charged in connection with four home births that occurred between 2003 and 2007 said they had appealed against the decision of the Budapest city court. "We don't expect the appeal to be heard before autumn," said lawyer Tamas Fazekas.

The verdict in Gereb's case was unusual because the judge's sentence was much tougher than the suspended prison term originally sought by the prosecution.Nonetheless, prosecutors also appealed against the ruling, asking for Gereb's professional bans to be extended and for the court to eliminate the possibility of her parole, Fazekas said. Another midwife was fined 300,000 forints (£989) while three others were acquitted. Gereb's litigation became a rallying point for Hungarians seeking to accept home births as a regulated method of delivery. Earlier this month, the government said home births would be allowed from 1 May, but only under strict safety conditions. Until now, women in Hungary had the right to give birth at home, but medical professionals were banned from assisting planned home births.

Last week, during the final stages of the trial, Gereb and her colleagues appealed for clemency to Hungary's president, Pal Schmitt, but he had not yet seen the request, a presidency official told state news wire MTI on Thursday. A group of Hungarian midwives criticised the ruling against Gereb, saying the court applied different standards to home births from those used in deliveries at a hospital.
"In civilised countries, midwives answer for their work to professional associations, not courts," the Birth Home Association said. "They are judged not solely by experts who have experience only in hospital births, but by professionals who know about home births." Fazekas said Gereb would remain under house arrest until the appeal is heard because she is also under investigation for other cases of complications in home births. Gereb had already been given a three-year ban because of a similar case in 2007. Her determination to assist with thousands of home births has received plenty of media attention in Hungary, with public opinion deeply split. She was voted one of Hungary's Women of the Decade in a women's weekly and last year several prominent doctors and midwives from Britain and the US appealed to the Hungarian government for her release.

Gerichtsverhandlung

Brief von der GfG vom 17.November 2010

Liebe GfG-Mitglieder,
seit Anfang Oktober ist Agnes Gereb im Gefängnis. Wer Englisch versteht, wird aus dem Text im Anhang viele Details erfahren. Für diejenigen, die lieber auf Deutsch etwas zu diesem Fall erfahren, hier die Lage zusammen gefasst: Ich kenne Agnes Gereb seit 1993. Sie war bei der Gründung von ENCA (European Network of Childbirth Associations) in Frankfurt damals dabei. Sie ist eine Aktivistin für eine andere Geburtshilfe in Ungarn. Als Frauenärztin und Hebamme hat sie in den letzten 20 Jahren sich insbesondere für die Wahlfreiheit des Geburtsortes engagiert. Ich habe selbst anlässlich von ENCA-Treffen in Ungarn sehen können, unter welchen Bedingungen die Frauen dort ihr Kind zur Welt bringen... Gebären zu Hause in Ungarn ist erlaubt, professionnelle GeburtshelferInnen dürfen aber keine Hausgeburt begleiten. Solche Widersprüche führen vielerorts dazu, dass Frauen ganz ohne Beistand ihr Kind zur Welt bringen. Bei mehr als 3500 Geburten in der außerklinischen Geburtshilfe hat Agnes 3 schwere Fälle gehabt, was statistisch gesehen sehr gut ist. Agnes Gereb wurde zunehmend von den Gesundheitsbehörden gegängelt. Ihr wurde die Zulassung als Frauenärztin abgenommen. Als Hebamme hat sie dann weiterhin Frauen, die sich an sie gewandt haben, den Beistand angeboten. Agnes hat eine Weiterbildung der deutschen Gesellschaft für Geburtsvorbereitung für Geburtsvorbereitung in Budapest organisiert. Sie hatte Gelder (der EU glaube ich) für die Finanzierung dafür erhalten. Sie wurde im Oktober verhaftet als sie den Krankenwagen für einen Neugeborenen in schlechtem Zustand gerufen hat. Die Polizei kam und nahm sie in Handschellen fest. Seitdem sitzt sie im Gefängnis unter Bedingungen die wir als menschenverachtend sehen (Fußfesseln, nach jedem Besuch werden sämtliche Körperöffnungen geprüft...). Agnes ist eine zierliche kleine Frau, Mutter von 5 Kindern und etwa 60 Jahre alt.
Wir möchten Euch aufrufen, die Petition zu unterschreiben. Damit wird klar, dass die internationale Öffentlichkeit über Agnes Bescheid weiss, und das könnte einen Einfluss haben. Weiter finden wir, dass eine Frau, die sich so bedingungslos für die Frauen engagiert, unsere Unterstützung verdient. Die Wahlfreiheit der Gebärenden ist zunehmend eingeschränkt, in Deutschland über die Versicherungsprämie der Hebammen, in Ungarn wie gerade beschrieben, in Irland wird am Donnerstag über einen Gesetzesentwurf entschieden, der die Hausgeburtshilfe verbieten soll, in Frankreich, Tschech.Republik, Spanien gebären zunehmend mehr Frauen alleine, weil sie die institutionalisierte Medizin ablehnen, sie fühlen sich nicht ernst genommen und wissen, dass dies den Geburtsprozess erschwert.
Im Anhang findet Ihr meine Stellungnahme in Englisch, die ich an verschiedene offizielle Stellen in Ungarn geschickt habe. Und gleich hier unten die Seite für die Petition.
Mit herzlichen Grüßen
Elisabeth Geisel
» http://www.PetitionOnline.com/szul2010/
GfG Gesellschaft für Geburtsvorbereitung, Familienbildung und Frauengesundheit
Bundesverband e.V., Ebersstrasse 68, 10827 Berlin, Deutschland, Tel: 030 - 45 02 69 20, Fax. 030 - 45 02 69 21, Email: gfg@gfg-bv.de; www.gfg-bv.de

Homebirth-Situation in Hungary 17 November 2010

In the present case Agnes Gereb a skilled, experienced, and dedicated midwife and obstetrician, has been taken into custody, because she is an advocate of the freedom of women to choose the place to birth their babies. She also supports them during birth, which is the logical follow up of her dedication. The current situation in Hungary is such, that it cannot be surprising, that some people become dissidents. This is the result of a sclerotic male dominated establishment in the field of obstetrics. The weakness of the current systems is to refuse the contribution of other citizens, like Agnes Gereb, who are ready, in the light of scientific evidences to bring new inputs into the soviet heritage. In the contrary, the pioneers are punished. Courageous citizen whose experience, power and creativity, knowledge and perseverance could be used for the better in a country like Hungary, are put in the criminal category. Imagine such an attitude in the research or economic field! But here it is a woman who fights for women.
If you accept to weaken systematically the strong members in a society, you will at the same time kill what matters most: its spirit. Don’t you think that the unpunished institutionalized violence against mothers/women inside hospitals put serious scares on them? Many never recover from the damage done on their soul and body: they are weakened and democracy is weakened. The arrest of Agnes Gereb and the mistreatment she has been subjected to, and still is, are as well aimed at the intimidation of any other who might even think of supporting alternative ways in this society. Intimidation is the way to reduce any initiative, and produces a folk of unmotivated passive individuals: a dangerous issue that we all know about. The priority of the system seems to be to stick anxiously to the established status quo, and create anxiety, so that the citizens accept anything supposedly right for them. Who said that the old hated system has been swept away? As in many other countries from the old soviet Eastern Europe, the reaction to dissidence is imprisonment.
We ask for the liberation of Agnes Gereb. The mistreatment she has been a victim of should stop immediately. Should she stay in prison and mistreatments would go on, you would make of her a world wide known victim of your system, whose name will stay for ages for shame on your country and for the disregard of human rights in a EU country.
Elisabeth Geisel
Chair of the GfG, Berlin, Germany
» http://www.PetitionOnline.com/szul2010/
GfG Gesellschaft für Geburtsvorbereitung, Familienbildung und Frauengesundheit
Bundesverband e.V., Ebersstrasse 68, 10827 Berlin, Deutschland, Tel: 030 - 45 02 69 20, Fax. 030 - 45 02 69 21, Email: gfg@gfg-bv.de; www.gfg-bv.de

The Guardian, England from 9 November 2010

Your report (Handcuffed, a midwife is led into court, 23 October) is a shocking indictment of the Hungarian maternity system. Agnes Gereb, a qualified obstetrician, had her own third child at home just before she held the first home birth conference in Hungary about 20 years ago. In 2003 a group of us who attended and spoke at the second home birth conference she organised, including Dr Marsden Wagner, previously director of maternal and child health for the European region of the WHO. After the conference, we met with Hungarian ministry of health officials and senior obstetricians, who did not accept the evidence that home birth was a safe option for healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy.

In 2007 Gereb was struck off the medical register for doing home births and then retrained as a midwife. The birth now in question was not at home, the woman had been advised by Gereb to have her baby in hospital, and labour occurred prematurely and very fast in a clinic. Gereb's lawyers have not yet been told what the charges are but, as mother and child are alive, it cannot be manslaughter – so why is Gereb being treated as a criminal? This is a matter of human rights. As an EU member, Hungary accepts that women have the right to give birth at home, but no midwives have been given licences to practise outside hospital so their right is effectively undermined. We call on everybody to sign the petition at » www.petitiononline.com/szul2010/petition.html
and contact your Euro MP to put pressure on the Hungarian government to act to enable Hungarian women to give birth at home with a trained midwife.
Sheila Kitzinger Thames Valley University
Wendy Savage Middlesex University

The Guardian, England vom 22. Oktober 2010

» http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/22/hungary-midwife-agnes-gereb-home-birth

Hungary: Midwife Agnes Gereb taken to court for championing home births
Gynaecologist faces five years in Hungarian prison, prompting protests over authorities' hardline childbirth policy

Twenty minutes after the expectant mother went into labour, the police were knocking at the door. While mother and child were taken to hospital and treated well, the midwife at the birthing centre was thrown in jail. Dr Agnes Gereb is now being kept in maximum security conditions in a Budapest prison, facing a five-year prison sentence. Gereb, founder of the Napvilág birthing centre, is a highly experienced gynaecologist, midwife and internationally recognised home birth expert. She has successfully helped deliver 3,500 babies at home. But her reputation means nothing to the authorities in Hungary, a country that has, campaigners say, relentlessly pushed to criminalise home births and make hospital deliveries compulsory.
In the hours after her arrest on 5 October, Gereb was subjected to intense interrogation before being called to a closed court at 10pm. Held for a further week without charge, she finally appeared in an open court on 12 October, shackled in leg chains and handcuffs, accused of negligent malpractice. She also faces several other charges, including one for manslaughter relating to an earlier home birth when a baby died after a difficult labour.

Gereb's is the story of home birthing in modern Hungary and has sparked international outrage. A hero to women across Hungary, she has dedicated the past 30 years to defending the right of mothers to choose their birthing experience. Her arrest is, say her supporters, the "logical climax of [the state's] campaign of vilification and criminalisation" of those who support a mother's right to have a non-hospital birth. Support for her plight is growing, with backers including Sheila Kitzinger, the British natural childbirth activist and author, Professor Wendy Savage, Britain's first female obstetric consultant, and the Labour MP Caroline Flint.

The constitution in Hungary gives a mother the right to give birth at home but prevents her doing so by arguing that the practical conditions to ensure a safe home birth do not exist: a situation created by the refusal of the ANTSZ, Hungary's public health authority, to issue licences to independent midwives, and the failure of successive governments to implement regulations compelling them to do so. Women wanting to give birth at home, therefore, find themselves in an unlicensed and unregulated hinterland. Any midwife who gives medical assistance is breaking the law. In the last five years, police investigations have become increasingly aggressive. There are just 15 midwives in Hungary who will help women give birth at home. Five of these currently face lengthy prison sentences.

"The state's campaign against home births has lasted nearly 20 years and is rooted in the determination of a clique of obstetricians to maintain their own power and earning potential from hospital births," said Donal Kerry, spokesman for the Hungarian Homebirth Community. Obstetrics is one of the most lucrative branches of Hungary's supposedly free healthcare system, explains Kerry, in which parents expect to pay up to a month's salary to the doctor, who is legally obliged to be present at each birth. Obstetric care in Hungary is, by many measures, excellent. It is tightly run by skilled doctors, with low mortality rates. The problem, say campaigners, is that hospital births are doctor-centred and highly interventionist. Inductions and episiotomies are standard.

Mirtill Rackevei gave birth to her three daughters at home between 2002 and 2006, with Gereb's help. "I decided to have home births because I had seen my sister have a child in hospital and it was awful," she said. "My sister was reluctant to have any more children because of her traumatic experience but my home births were so lovely that she decided to try it," she added. "The difference for her was so great that she went on to have third and fourth children, also at home. So now she has three children in the world who would not exist were it not for Agi. Agi is a wonderful woman."

In addition to the most recent case, Gereb is facing four other criminal charges. Two involved births where postpartum haemorrhage was greater than normal – a fairly common occurence in obstetrical practice. In both cases, the mothers and babies were discharged from hospital after a few hours. The other two cases are more serious: one concerning an infant who died as a result of shoulder dystocia and the other a twin who suffered a lack of oxygen at birth and died seven months later. Only the parents of the child who died from shoulder dystocia are pressing charges. The others all support Gereb.

Tamas Fazekas, one of a team of lawyers fighting Gereb's cause with the Hungarian civil liberties union, says she is confined to her four-woman cell for 23 hours a day. "She is subjected to strip searches, only allowed to see her family once a month — they have not been allowed to visit her since her arrest — and can have just one 10-minute phone call every week. When she appeared before the public court she was in handcuffs and leg shackles so tight that she had a 10cm bleeding wound on her leg," he said. The day after Gareb was arrested, more than 600 people protested outside Budapest's remand prison. Two days later, more than 2,000 people made a human chain from the municipal court to the national parliament.
Campaigners have asked the Hungarian constitutional court and the European court of human rights to force the Hungarian government to draw up necessary regulations without further delay.

European choice Variation in home births