The President of Hungary Dr János Áder has accepted the plea for clemency of the internationally-acclaimed independent midwife/ obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Ágnes Geréb, and cancelled the prison sentence against her.
I am deeply grateful to all those who have stood by me, who with their actions and encouragement have helped me through this period of trial and hardship - said the 66 year old health professional. This act of clemency is about more than me. It is an acknowledgement of liberty in giving birth. It is a recognition by the state that the rights of women to make decisions about the circumstances of their children’s birth must be acknowledged.
Dr Geréb has made the freedom of childbirth the centre of her life’s work. Part of this work was her contribution to legislation that empowers the autonomy of women in childbirth.
One result of her four decades of work is that the presence of fathers at childbirth, once forbidden, is now commonplace. More importantly, her work resulted in legislation which legalised homebirth in Hungary. This not only expanded the rights of birthing women, but improved hospital practices as well. Dr Geréb has made a significant and lasting impact on Hungarian society by introducing undisturbed birth and fighting for the rights of women and their babies.