Messages of support for Aja and Charles

The woman who lost her case challenging the HSE’s strict policy on home births hopes that her case will result in changes to maternity services.

The woman who lost her case challenging the HSE’s strict policy on home births hopes that her case will result in changes to maternity services.

Aja Teehan from Thomastown had a caesarean section with the birth of her first child and was seeking an individual assessment as to why her application for a home birth was refused. She also sought a declaration that the HSE policy which refuses to individually assess a woman who has previously had a caesarean section.

According to HSE policy mothers who have had a previous birth by way of caesarean section are precluded from home birth services. Ms Teehan contended that the HSE’s refusal of her application for a home birth violates the European Convention of Human Rights.

High Court judge Ms Iseult O’Malley ruled against Ms Teehan and said Ms Teehan was seeking to compel the HSE to accept liability for a risk that it did not believe was justifiable.

The judge remarked that the issue of insurance was at the heart of the problem,

Aja said that she hopes her decision to waive her anonymity will encourage people to look at the greater maternity services issue.

“I believe that everyone has the right to make informed decisions and that people have the right to make an informed refusal. It is the role of the medic to provide you with the information on the risks and then you make a decision.

“As a parent you have the sole responsibility for making the choices and the role of the medic is to provide you with the information so that you can make that decision. So why is this right removed from every mother when the child is in the womb. I took the case to highlight that the HSE does not have to take into account what a parent thinks is best for their unborn child,” she said.

Ms Teehan and her husband Charles Brand have been inundated with messages of support since they took the case.

“We were more than happy to pay for a home birth but we cannot do this as no midwife can get insurance. I have done research into the different approaches to childbirth and I came to the conclusion having spoken to medical practitioners that a home birth is the best option in my case but when we discussed it with self-employed midwives we were told that they could not because they were fettered by HSE policy ,” she added.

A decision on costs in the case will be made on September 6. For more see agateehan.com