This book is inspired by a statement released by the World Health Organization directed at preventing and eliminating disrespectful and abusive treatment during facility-based childbirth.

Exploring the nature of vulnerability during childbirth, and the factors which make childbirth a site for violence and control, the book looks at the role of law in the regulation of professional intervention in childbirth. The WHO statement and other published work on ‘mistreatment’, ‘obstetric violence’, ‘birth trauma’, ‘birth rape’, and ‘dehumanised care’ all point to the presence of vulnerability, violence, and control in childbirth. This collected edition explores these issues in the experience of those giving birth, and for those providing obstetric services. It further offers insights regarding legal avenues of redress in the context of this emerging area of concern. Using violence, vulnerability, and control as a lens through which to consider multiple facets of the law, the book brings together innovative research from an interdisciplinary selection of authors.

The book will appeal to scholars of law and legal academics, specifically in relation to tort, criminal law, medical law, and human rights. It will also be of interest to postgraduate scholars of medical ethics and those concerned with gender studies more broadly.

chapter |13 pages


ByCamilla Pickles, Jonathan Herring

chapter 1|16 pages

‘Amigas, sisters: we’re being gaslighted’

Obstetric violence and epistemic injustice
BySara Cohen Shabot

chapter 2|19 pages

Practices of silencing

Birth, marginality and epistemic violence
ByRachelle Chadwick

chapter 3|18 pages

Posttraumatic stress disorder following childbirth

ByAntje Horsch, Susan Garthus-Niegel

chapter 4|21 pages

Identifying the wrong in obstetric violence

lessons from domestic abuse
ByJonathan Herring

chapter 5|23 pages

Midwives and midwifery

The need for courage to reclaim vocation for respectful care
BySoo Downe, Nancy Stone

chapter 6|21 pages

Health system accountability in South Africa

A driver of violence against women?
ByJessica Rucell

chapter 7|8 pages

Human rights law and challenging dehumanisation in childbirth

A practitioner’s perspective
ByElizabeth Prochaska

chapter 8|21 pages

Leaving women behind

The application of evidence-based guidelines, law, and obstetric violence by omission
ByCamilla Pickles

chapter 9|17 pages

Childbirth, consent, and information about options and risks

ByLisa Forsberg

chapter 10|26 pages

Court-authorised obstetric intervention

Insight and capacity, a tale of loss
BySamantha Halliday

chapter 11|22 pages

Obstetric violence through a fiduciary lens

ByElizabeth Kukura

chapter 12|25 pages

Reflections on criminalising obstetric violence

A feminist perspective
ByKaren Brennan

chapter |5 pages


ByEmily Jackson