President János Áder Pardons Homebirth Midwife Ágnes Geréb
The President of Hungary Dr. János Áder has accepted the plea for clemency of the internationally-acclaimed independent midwife/ obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Ágnes Geréb and canceled the prison sentence against her.
President Janos Ader has pardoned homebirth midwife Agnes Gereb, who was earlier sentenced to imprisonment, according to a statement published on the president’s website. The president’s pardon does not affect parts of the earlier sentence barring Gereb from practicing her profession.
Geréb was arrested by police in October 2010. In February 2012 the appeal court in Budapest sentenced her to two years in prison in connection with two cases of home births. One involved assisting with the birth of twins, one of whom was born dead. In the other case, she assisted in the birth of a baby who suffered severe complications and died six months later. Geréb and her attorney later appealed for a retrial, citing newly submitted opinions by experts.
Dr. Geréb has made the freedom of childbirth the center 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 during childbirth, once forbidden, is now commonplace.
More importantly, her work resulted in legislation which legalized 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.