University of São Paulo: Obstetric violence is a violation of human rights

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Actions of violence against women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum are increasingly in evidence. New reports are recorded every week and, even so, the dimension of the number of occurrences is still far from reality, in a universe of about 2.5 million births a year in Brazil, and even the term obstetric violence is contested. This is the theme that Professor Fabiana Severi brings to this week’s episode of the series Women and Justice , which has as a guest the public defender of the State of São Paulo Mônica de Melo, a feminist and professor at the Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) of São Paulo. .

Mônica diz que a violência obstétrica é uma violência de gênero, uma violação dos direitos humanos das mulheres. É toda ação ou omissão direcionada às mulheres no pré-natal, parto e puerpério que cause dano, dor, sofrimento, prejudicando a integridade física e/ou psíquica, praticada sem consentimento ou em desrespeito à autonomia e escolhas das mulheres.



This violence can occur through verbally disrespectful treatment, insults, humiliation, screaming, denying or delaying analgesia, asking for excessive or unnecessary exams, coercive or unauthorized medical procedures, and countless situations that can be aggravated depending on the consideration of race and class of these women. “Black women are the most affected, according to data from the Birth in Brazil survey: National Survey on Childbirth and Birth , a nationwide population-based study with interviews and assessment of medical records of 23,894 women in 2011/2012,” says Mônica.

Obstetric violence is a term that names and highlights a situation that some want to remain hidden and invisible. “In 2018, the Federal Council of Medicine stated that the term would be an aggression against the medical specialty of gynecology and obstetrics, which was endorsed by the current government through the Ministry of Health, which banned the use of the term from official documents, which does not make the problem non-existent, and the São Paulo Regional Council of Medicine recently questioned a lawyer who was teaching a course on obstetric violence.”

The public defender warns that these actions make it difficult and prevent their confrontation. “How can women protect themselves and avoid this violence if the debate is prohibited, if we cannot even name these violences?” And she recalls that obstetric violence can be practiced by other health professionals along the way. “This type of violence is part of a general context of a sexist, sometimes misogynist society, which tends to disrespect women, their autonomy, their choices, their ability to decide, after being duly informed, about medical procedures and treatments that affect them. their bodies.”

In addition to the rights exercised individually, Mônica emphasizes that there are social rights, such as the right to health, which must be guaranteed by the State. “In this sense, the public power has to act, in this matter, carrying out protocols for care and for coping with obstetric violence, continuous training of health professionals, establishment of complaint channels, among others, and when a situation of obstetric violence occurs to you. , report and ask for help. You can call the Public Defender’s Office, the Public Ministry, the National Health Agency, the Federal Council of Medicine.”

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