The human rights scandal at Human Rights in Childbirth

Media blind - censorship concept

Poor Hermine Hayes-Klein. She came to this blog to call my bluff and instead I called hers. She’s been dealing with the ugly fallout ever since.

And in doing so, Hayes-Klein has exposed not one, but two human rights scandals at Human Rights in Childbirth.

The rest of the professional natural childbirth and homebirth advocates would have told her to stay away. I don’t bluff, I can eviscerate ridiculous claims in short order, and I don’t give up.

Hayes-Klein parachuted in to comment on Friday’s post Why is Human Rights in Childbirth protecting the doctor in the so-called “Forced Episiotomy” video?. Hayes-Klein wrote:

Dear Dr. Amy, it is heartening to read your assessment of this video as “incompetent and negligent.” Perhaps you would be willing to serve as an expert witness if and when “Kelly” finds a California lawyer willing to bring a case for damages and redress. Amy, your voice has great value in the maternity care debate. Would you write some more about what you think the doctor could have done differently in that video? Do you think he violated her right of informed consent and refusal? Please comment.

And I promptly answered:

I’d be happy to serve as an expert witness. Moreover, I’d be happy to assist in finding a lawyer who would take the case; my husband is a trial lawyer. Just tell me: in what hospital and city/town did this take place? Who is the doctor in the video? Has any complaint of any kind been filed against him? Feel free to contact me privately …

Oops, that’s not what Hayes-Klein was expecting.

Hayes-Klein promptly disappeared but continued the discussion on the Facebook page of HRiC and on the website page showing the “forced episiotomy.”

HRiC 1

Hayes-Klein bizarrely claimed:

HRiC does not have the goal of stirring up a witch hunt against this doctor …

My response:

An organization that really cares about human rights in childbirth would be prosecuting this case with zeal. The fact that you are not prosecuting it in any way and that you refuse to protect the rest of the public by identifying the doctor and the hospital indicate that you aren’t really interested in human rights in childbirth, just in shilling business for the natural childbirth industry.

It seems bizarre that HRiC would portray an effort to stop this doctor from treating other women in the same way as a “witch hunt.” I would call it the only possible ethical response if what happened is what Hayes-Klein claims happened.

HRiC 2

Later in the day, Hayes-Klein started to get a little panicky:

I challenge any one of you hater “skeptics” accusing us of staging the forced episiotomy video (!) to do something more productive; go on record stating that episiotomies Do require informed consent and that No Means No in childbirth.

My response:

YOU are the one who could do something productive if you wanted to do so. You could identify the doctor in the video, as well as the hospital where this incident took place. At a minimum, this doctor should be reported to the hospital and to the California Board of Medicine. I can’t think of a single legitimate reason why this has not been done, and apparently neither can you…

It is yet another example of the fact that organizations that claim to be concerned with human rights in childbirth don’t care at all about the human rights of mothers, except to the extent that their misfortunes can be exploited to promote midwifery and homebirth.

Of course, Human Rights in Childbirth is not a human rights organization. If it were it would it would have people on its advisory board who are trained in law, philosophy and human rights. Instead it is just a collection of homebirth midwives shilling for business. It is just like an other astro-turf organization. It claims to have a lofty purpose, but its true purpose is to increase market share and profits for homebirth midwives by fomenting distrust of obstetricians.

HRiC 3

I subsequently asked:

Tell me, Hermine, what do you and your organization actually DO to promote human rights in childbirth …? What lawsuits have you brought? What medical complaints have you filed? Who have you helped?

And that’s when Hermine Hayes-Klein went into full panic mode and started deleting comments and banning commentors. It suggests that she knows her decision to protect the identity of this doctor and her failure to file an official complaint against him are both indefensible. She is embarrassed, and rather than do the right thing and protect women from this doctor, she prefers to erase the evidence of her complicity in his continued freedom to treat other women the way he treated the woman in the video.

Deleting comments = consciousness of guilt.

So the first human rights scandal at Human Rights in Childbirth is the organization’s failure to protect the human rights of the woman in the video or, indeed, or any women at all.

The second scandal is that human rights in childbirth apparently does not include the right to free speech. In a classic authoritarian move, Hayes-Klein erased any evidence of her failures and silenced anyone who would dare question her.

Human Rights in Childbirth is a scam; Hermine Hayes-Klein is a hypocrite; and the true purpose of the organization has nothing to do with human rights and everything to do with increasing business for homebirth midwives by fomenting distrust of doctors.

Who would have guessed?