U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
October 4, 2019
Thank you, Mr. Chair. The United States thanks the Special Rapporteur Mrs. Simonovic for her report on violence against women during childbirth and obstetric violence. We agree strongly with a number of the report’s main messages: women should give birth safely; they should give informed consent to the procedures and treatments they receive; and health care providers should respect their dignity, privacy, and confidentiality.
We also welcome the report addressing the barriers women and girls with disabilities face to accessing care. We also agree strongly that forced sterilization and forced abortion are abhorrent: the United States categorically condemns and opposes these abusive practices. Indeed, the Department of State has long included human rights violations and abuses such as these in its annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.”
The United States does wish, however, to express a degree of concern over the report’s recommendations that states not criminalize home birth. While the United States is not suggesting that home birth be criminalized, we do have some apprehension about the practice. A key concern remains assuring the health and safety of mothers and their babies before, during, and after home births. If complications arise in a home birth scenario, the health of the mother and baby may be endangered because trained medical personnel, equipment, and/or supplies may not be available.
Mr. Chair, in conclusion, the United States will continue to prioritize efforts enabling access to care and to facilities that provide safe delivery and respectful care for all women. We want to ask Mrs. Simonovic for her recommendations for what more member states and the international community can do to eliminate barriers and ensure access to care for women and girls with disabilities on an equal basis with all women and girls.