Clemency and choice

Some people took issue with me regarding a piece I wrote for the Budapest Times a while ago. It had to do with choice – and a woman’s right to choose.

Dr Ágnés Geréb was since arrested, tried, convicted, and is now in prison. Somewhat ironically, what she was imprisioned for has now been legalised so technically her crime is no longer a crime.

The situation:  On February 10th, 2012, the Budapest Appeal Court announced the verdict in the case of Dr. Ágnes Geréb (an OB/Gyn as well as a midwife) and four other Hungarian midwives. The terms of Ágnes Geréb’s sentence of two-year imprisonment were tightened, a ban on practicing doubled to ten years.

No less than full clemency is needed (although, one wonders, in the absence of a President, who would grant a presidential pardon?) Dr Geréb is a pioneer, to be championed not incarcerated. She was the first in Hungary to let fathers into the labor ward, allowing families to experience the miracle of birth together. She assisted several thousand normal births without complications, and facilitated the beginning of numerous happy lives.

So far, more than 6000 people from all over the world have signed a petition for clemency. Remember, it is the ability to choose that makes us human. Not one given to putting my name to anything without due thought and consideration, Ágnés Geréb does not belong in jail. She should be out assisting those women who have chosen to give birth at home She should be out facilitating a Hungarian woman’s right to choose.

4 replies
  1. Donna
    Donna says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to ‘speak up’ for this remarkable lady – and – cause. It takes one to know one, my dear friend…. remarkable Mary. Love you. Donna


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  1. […] Dr Geréb is an internationally acknowledged midwife and a defender of the rights of mothers to control the circumstances of their baby’s birth. Surely the right of a woman to choose how and where she delivers her child is a basic one. For those who argue that home birth puts the life of the child at more risk than a hospital birth, one only has to look to statistics to see how tenuous that argument is. For those who still argue that the state is not responsible for facilitating the choice of home delivery, then they should remember the Ternovsky ruling of 2010 which obliged the Hungarian government to do … […]

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