The choice of child delivery is a European human right

Eur J Health Law. 2012 Jun;19(3):257-69. doi: 10.1163/157180912x639125.


In a judgment of 14 December 2010, in the case of Madam Ternovszky v. Hungary, the European Court of Human Rights has considered that a State should provide an adequate regulatory scheme concerning the right to choose in matters of child delivery (at home or in a hospital). In the context of homebirth, regarded as a matter of personal choice of the mother, this implies that the mother is entitled to a legal and institutional environment that enables her choice. This contribution stresses in which sense the regulatory schemes in the Member States Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the UK concerning the choice of child delivery are in accordance with Article 8 ECHR, the right to respect for the private life. Do the Member States provide the legal certainty to a mother that the midwife can legally assist a homebirth? Or are restrictions made in interests of public health?

Publication types

  • Legal Case

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior*
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Home Childbirth / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Nurse Midwives / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Pregnancy