Today decision by the high court to reject Aja Teehan’s bid to overturn the HSE’s refusal to allow her a home birth is a bitter disappointment but the campaign will go on.
Ms Teehan claimed that the HSE was unlawful in refusing to consider the merits of her application. She claimed that instead of looking at the individual case it simply applied a blanket policy to disallow her choice of a home birth. Ms Teehan believes that this refusal is a breach of her constitutional and human rights.
Aja should be commended for taking her case to the courts and challenging the HSE’s policy on this issue. This is a very necessary discussion that needs to be had around maternity care in Ireland.
Contrary to the oft quoted statistics about Ireland being one of the safest places to have a baby, the reality is that our figures are assessed in a manner which understates the actual situation.
There are also a disproportionate number of caesareans carried out in Ireland, far more than in other EU countries.
I have attempted to raise these issues in the Dáil in recent times and I will continue to raise the matter in September when the Dáil returns from recess and will work with all of the many people on the ground who are campaigning on this issue and who no doubt will redouble their efforts in light of this decision.