Report: Gynecologist Imprisoned For Assisting With Home Births

Dr. Agnes Gereb was imprisoned for championing home births, supporters say
Dr. Agnes Gereb was imprisoned for championing home births, supporters say

The Guardian (U.K) reports that Hungarian authorities have imprisoned gynecologist and midwife Agnes Gereb for helping women give birth at home (Ricki Lake, where are you??). The Oct. 22 article begins:

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...

Held for a further week without charge, (Gereb) 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.

Supporters from around the world have organized a "Free Agnes Gereb" campaign on two Facebook pages, here and here, and other sites, and are petitioning authorities to release her from prison.

This program aired on October 25, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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