In Mexico, a lack of trained staff, inadequate medical equipment and facilities ill-suited to provide obstetric care seem to be the rule. Because of this, GIRE raises awareness on obstetric violence as a type of violence that occurs within the public or private health care system and consists of actions or omissions by health care providers that cause physical or psychological harm to a woman during pregnancy, childbirth and in the postpartum period. This violence can include a lack of access to reproductive health services, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by medical personnel and over-medicalization that undermines a woman’s ability to decide in a free and informed manner on medical procedures.
GIRE accompanies women who have suffered obstetric violence, not only to seek reparations for them and their families, but also to promote structural change in the healthcare system. This will guarantee that all women have access to quality obstetric care services. In our efforts to achieve this, we are convinced that criminalizing healthcare workers is not the answer, and we therefore work to avoid this common response to obstetric violence in the country.
“The Missing Piece: Reproductive Justice” (https://justiciareproductiva.gire.org.mx/assets/pdf/TheMissingPiece_2019.pdf)
“Obstetric Violence. A Human Rights Approach”
In Mexico, the identification of obstetric violence and access to justice in cases of women’s human rights violations during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum are still in an incipient stage. Although there is a wide range of procedures for complaints and sanctions, they lack a human rights perspective and reparations mechanisms are diverse, thus obligating women to resort to more than one mechanism.
Obstetric Violence – GIRE
Obstetric violence is the result of a multifactorial framework where institutional violence and gender violence come together. Cases such as Irma and Liliana show that women in Mexico face serious obstacles in exercising their reproductive rights. Obstacles range from discrimination in access and refusal of obstetric health services to substandard care in the provision of services due to structural problems in the health system. Structural issues include: insufficient infrastructure; the lack of capacity of public federal, state and local clinics and hospitals to attend deliveries and obstetric emergencies; and training for medical personnel that favors an authoritarian vision, encouraging mistreatment and in which women’s choices are not taken into account during obstetric processes. GIRE does not promote the criminalization of obstetric violence to eliminate the problem, as this does not address the structural problems that underlie the perpetuation of this practice.
Obstetric Violence: A Human Rights Approach