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NewsHuman rights court hears Czech home births case

10-09-2013 20:11 | Jan Richter

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday heard a case of two Czech women who complain about restrictions on home births. Judges heard arguments from attorneys of the women as well as a representative of the Czech Republic. The women filed their complaints to the court in 2011 and 2012; they were planning to give birth at home but say the Czech authorities prevented them from doing so. Their lawyer said the court should acknowledge that women’s rights in the Czech Republic are breached by denying assistance to home births. The court is expected to deliver a verdict in the case in the coming months.  

NewsKönigsmarková’s sentence quashed

28-08-2013 19:55 | Jan Velinger

The Constitutional Court has struck down a suspended prison sentence given to midwife Ivana Königsmarková in 2009 for criminal negligence in the birth of a child that died 20 months later. Originally, she received a two-year suspended sentence, a 2.7-million crown fine and was banned from working as a midwife. She has maintained her innocence and said that there was no evidence beforehand that the birth would be a complicated one. She also maintained that the trial was an attack on home births in general by the Czech medical establishment. Her sentence was reaffirmed by the appeals court and the Supreme Court last year.  

Current AffairsConstitutional Court decision encourages further discussion on home births

28-08-2013 15:57 | Masha Volynsky

Ivana Königsmarková, photo: CTK The Constitutional Court made a landmark ruling on Wednesday morning, which struck down the verdicts of three previous courts on the guilt of midwife Ivana Königsmarková. A leading home birth advocate Koningsmarkova was given a suspended two-year prison sentence, a hefty fine and a ban from her profession for delivering a baby with serious neurological defects during a home birth. For proponents of more liberal birthing regulations this can mean a big step forward, but whether the decision will actually advance the debate on home births remains to be seen.  More

NewsLarge rise seen in number of home births in Czech Republic since early 1990s

19-05-2013 21:30 | Ian Willoughby

The number of home births in the Czech Republic has increased markedly in the last two decades, the Czech News Agency reported, quoting a head doctor at a leading Prague hospital. While in 1990 only 16 babies were born at home with the assistance of a midwife, that figure had risen to 150 in 2009. The highest number occur in Prague, while the fewest take place in the Zlín region in South Moravia. Czech health insurance companies refuse to cover home births.  

NewsMidwife’s appeal rejected by Supreme Court

10-09-2012 19:26 | Masha Volynsky

The Supreme Court of the Czech Republic has rejected an appeal from the head of the Midwives Union, Ivana Königsmarková, on Monday. Last year, Ms Königsmarková received a two-year suspended sentence for negligence resulting in grievous bodily harm during a home birth, and was banned from carrying out home births for five years. She was accused of not carrying out proper CPR procedures on a newborn after complications at birth. The defendant has maintained her innocence throughout the trial. Ms Königsmarková said she will take her appeal to the Constitutional Court. Home births are highly frowned upon by the Czech medical establishment, and birth assistants are usually unable to get proper license to carry out births in the home.  

Current AffairsPrague court delivers landmark ruling in home births advocates’ battle with the state

27-01-2012 15:56 | Jan Richter

A ruling on Thursday by a Prague court might lead to a breakthrough in the ongoing Czech debate about home births. While state officials and health care providers have consistently opposed the practice over safety concerns, the court decided that mothers indeed have the right to choose the place of their child’s delivery, and the state has to provide all necessary assistance.  More

NewsMidwifes, expectant mothers to sue Czech Republic at Strasbourg over home births

12-01-2012 23:59 | Sarah Borufka

A group of expectant mothers and midwives will sue the Czech Republic at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over home births, the news website tyden.cz reported on Wednesday. They complain that home births are not covered by medical insurance and midwives face administrative obstacles which effectively prevent them from doing their jobs. A lawyer representing the group said the complaint would be filed by the end of the month. A spokesman for the Czech health ministry rejected the claims, and argued that the wellbeing of mothers and newborns were the primary concern.  

NewsMidwifes, expectant mothers to sue Czech Republic at Strasbourg over home births

11-01-2012 21:30 | Jan Richter

A group of expectant mothers and midwives will sue the Czech Republic at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg over home births, the news website tyden.cz reported on Wednesday. They complain that home births are not covered by medical insurance and midwives face administrative obstacles which effectively prevent them from doing their jobs. A lawyer representing the group said the complaint would be filed by the end of the month. A spokesman for the Czech health ministry rejected the claims, and argued that the wellbeing of mothers and newborns were the primary concern.  

Current AffairsHome births under fire as court case highlights family tragedy

23-09-2011 16:27 | Rob Cameron

Illustrative photo The issue of giving birth at home once again came to the fore this week after the country's most senior midwife was found guilty of criminal negligence after overseeing a botched home birth in Prague. A baby boy was left severely brain damaged after being deprived of oxygen, and later died. The midwife denies any wrongdoing, and says the complications were unforeseen and unavoidable.  More

NewsMidwife gets two year suspended sentence for botched birth

21-09-2011 20:49 | Daniela Lazarová

A Prague district court on Wednesday handed the head of the Czech Association of Midwives Ivana Konigsmarkova a two year suspended sentence for inflicting grievous bodily harm through negligence. The midwife assisted a difficult home birth which lasted for the better part of three days and resulted in the child suffering severe brain damage. Doctors said later that with proper hospital care the mother could have delivered a perfectly healthy baby. They blamed the midwife for failing to assess the situation correctly and call for a doctor and ambulance.  

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