Challenges and barriers faced by women in accessing justice against obstetric violence

Chandramathi Majety, Sravani Bejugam


The progress of any nation exclusively depends on the societal status of women. Just about one half of the global population comprise of women. Women have always been sufferers of abuse by male dominated society. Men require being oriented about their sense of duty towards women and women wishes to be empowered. The position remains the same everywhere. In a country like India woman is worshipped as goddess and on the other hand she is being subjected to oppression, suppression, exploitation and ill-treated by the male dominated society. The United Nations report states that “woman constitutes half of the world population, perform nearly 2/3 of works hours, receive one tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth percent of the world’s property.” There are many probable retort to the problem of violence against women and a range of legal doctrines in which violent behavior come into sight as an issue. A wholesome legal response to crime against women might require a significantly restructured legal framework with a new approach solely for the rationale of dealing with violence against women in all its forms. “Obstetric violence” refers to acts categorized as physically or psychologically violent in the process of child birth. Obstetric care submits to the most basic maternal care. It deals itself with the concern of a woman during pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum blues. This also involves providing information regarding the pregnancy, child birth and post-partum blues. Indian Public Health Standards guides ‘emergency obstetric care’ as an essential service at every government health care center. Most of the findings have decorated the situation of obstetric care in the government health facilities to be of very poor quality and the major concern of maternal mortality. Legal intervention must ensure women’s reproductive rights for better implementation and monitoring of schemes and to push the government to consider reproductive rights as a part of human rights in its realization.


Woman, Obstetric violence, Child birth, Legal intervention

Full Text:



Varttika by Katyayana, 125, 2477. Availbale from:

Jayapalan. Indian Society ND Social Institutions. Atlantic Publishers and Distributer; 2001:145.

Kamat K. Status of women in medieval Karnataka; 2006. Availbale from: Retrieved 2006-12-24.

Goel A. Violence and protective measures for women development and empowerment. New Delhi, Deep and Deep Publications; 2004:3-4.

Women in History. National Resource Center for Women. Archived from the original on; 2009.

A/RES/48/104-Declaration on the elimination of violence against women. United Nations General Assembly; 2006.

World Health Organisation, The prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during facility- based childbirth. WHO/RHR/14.23. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 2014.

Dickens BM, Cook RJ. Reproductive health and public health ethics. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 99/1; 2007:75-9. Farmer and NG Campos, New malaise: bioethics and human rights in the global era, Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 32/1. 2004;243-251.

Habek D, Bobić MV, Hrgović Z. Possible feto-maternal clinical risk of the Kristeller’s expression. Cent Eur J Med. 2008;3(2):183-6.

Riyami NA, Shezawi FA, Al-Ruheli, Al-Dughaishi T, Al-Khabori M. Perinatal Outcome in Pregnancies with Extreme Preterm Premature Rupture of Memranes (Midtrimester PROM). Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2013;13(1):51-6.

World Health Organization. Care in normal birth: a practical guide. 1996.

NBC News. C-section rates around the world at epidemic levels. World Health organization Reproductive Health Library. Episiotomy for Vaginal Birth National Health Services, United Kingdom.”NHS Choices: Episiotom. Available from: 34826186/#.V8AB9Vt97IU

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (March 31, 2006). ACOG Recommends Restricted Use of Episiotomies.

Jilly R. World Health Organisation Publications. Availbale from:

Zahr CA. Safe motherhood: a brief history of the global movement 1947-2002. British Medical Bulletin. 2003;67:13-25.

Cook R, Dickens B. Advancing safe motherhood through human rights (Geneva: WHO; 2000).

Yamin A. From ideals to tools: Applying human rights to maternal health,” PLOS Medicine 10/11. 2013;e1001546.

United Nations Human Rights Council, Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights, General Assembly, Eleventh session; 2009.

A/HRC/11/L.16/Rev.1; United Nations Human Rights Council, Preventable Maternal Mortality and Morbidity and Human Rights, Eighteenth Session; 2011.

Hungary AS. Communication No. 4/2004, CEDAW/C/36/D/4/2004, and F.S. v. Chile, admitted to the Inter- American Commission of Human Rights, September 2014. See also: Center and Vivo Positivo, Dignity denied: Violations of the rights of HIV-positive women in Chilean health facilities New York: Center for Reproductive Rights; 2010.

da Silva Pimentel v Brazil. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Communication No. 17/2008. CEDAW/C/49/D/17/ 2008. Decision of 25 July, 2011. See also: R.J. Cook, Human rights and maternal health: Exploring the effectiveness of the Alyne decision. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 41/1; 2013:103-123.

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, G.A. Res. 34/180. 1979:12(2).

Mathai M. To ensure maternal mortality is reduced, quality of care needs to be monitored and improved alongside increasing skilled delivery coverage rates. BJOG. 2011;118(Supp2):12-14.

Radoff KA, Levi A, Thomson LM. From home to hospital: mistreatment of childbearing women and barriers to facility-based birth in Nicaragua,” International Journal of Childbirth 2/1. 2012;40-50.

White Ribbon Alliance, Respectful Maternity Care: The Universal Rights of Childbearing Women. Washington, DC: White Ribbon Alliance; 2011. Available at Final_RMC_Charter.pdf.

Sandhya YK. Of Sahyog, an organization working to promote gender equality and women's health from a human rights framework.

Sandesh Bansal v. Union of India (PIL) W.P. 9061/2008.