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‘Legally wrong’ to make pregnant women with Covid give birth alone

NHS guidance which often forces pregnant women who test positive with coronavirus to give birth alone is legally wrong, lawyers warned.

Official guidance drawn up by NHS England states that if a woman tests positive for Covid, their husband or partner must self-isolate at home and is not allowed to support them during childbirth.

But campaigners and lawyers told The Independent their guidance for visitor restrictions in maternity services during the pandemic is legally inaccurate as people have the “right to private and family life” under Article Eight of the Human Rights Act.

Maria Booker, of Birthrights, a leading maternity care charity, said: “The NHS oversimplifies the government’s self-isolating Covid regulations and tells partners they have to stay at home. But this hasn’t taken into account the legal nuance that government rules state people can leave home if they have a reasonable excuse."

“A woman being anxious about giving birth alone, which most people will be, is likely to legally constitute as a reasonable excuse."

“It is completely inhumane for a woman to give birth without a partner or supporter. It is even scarier giving birth alone you are Covid positive. It is terrifying. Nobody should give birth alone and that includes Covid positive women.”

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Source: The Independent, 13 February 2021


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