Freedom for Birth

A new documentary about human rights in childbirth

Little drops of water

Little grains of sand

Make the mighty ocean

And the beauteous land.

Mrs J A Carney, Massachusetts, 1845

What is Freedom for Birth?

  • "Freedom for Birth" is a 58 minute documentary that reframes women's birthing rights as one of the most pressing human rights issues in the world today.

  • “Freedom For Birth” is more than just a film. It marks the beginning of a movement that will focus global attention on the violations of women's rights during childbirth all around the world.

  • All women should have the right, protected by law, to decide where and how they give birth.

  • The problem is that the rise of a dominant obstetric "machine" is robbing women of this right.

  • The result is that many women are being subjected to medical interventions and c-sections they neither want or need.

  • Tragically, midwives, the very guardians of normal birth, are being persecuted and criminally prosecuted to the extent that some have even been imprisoned.

  • "Freedom for Birth" highlights the human rights abuses happening right now in North America, Europe, Australia and beyond.

  • And, the film offers up a solution that can help protect womens' rights

  • And that solution involves you!

When was it released?

“Freedom For Birth” launched in September 2012 with over 1,100 screenings in 50 countries in 17 different languages. Over 100,000 people saw the film on one day sparking hundreds of newspaper articles and TV news features about the issue propelling human rights in childbirth into the mainstream.

What is the film about?

The main character in the film is the Hungarian midwife Ágnes Geréb who has been criminally prosecuted and has served time in prison for supporting women who chose home birth.


A Hungarian mother Ágnes supported in her homebirth, Anna Ternovszky, took her country to the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 and won a landmark case that now means every mother in Europe has the legal right to decide the circumstances of her birth.


As the film reveals, the ECHR Ternovszky ruling may hold the key to protecting women's birth rights in the future, not just in Europe but right around the world. A global birth revolution has begun!

Who is in the film?

As well as Ágnes Geréb and Anna Ternovszky, the film also features many of the world's leading birth experts:

Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Dr Sarah Buckley, Prof Sally Tracy, Prof Lesley Page, Prof Kirsten Uvnas-Moberg, Prof Soo Downe, Assoc Prof Denis Walsh, Jennie Joseph, perinatologist Dr Brad Bootstaylor plus many more academics, midwives, doulas, OB/GYNs, birth educators, campaigners, lawyers and parents.

Plus representatives from many of the world's leading birth organisations: Royal College of Midwives, MANA, ACNM, CAM, CAPPA and many more.

The Filmmakers

FREEDOM FOR BIRTH is part of One World Birth, a global cross-media film project intended to be a catalyst to improve birth around the world. One World Birth is the brainchild of a filmmaking couple, Toni Harman and Alex Wakeford. The difficult birth 6 years ago of our daughter inspired us to use our skills as filmmakers to "save birth and change the world!".


One World Birth is a self-funded (and also part crowd-funded through IndieGoGo) independent film project. We have no affiliations and no official partners. That means we are free to make the films that we want to make. Our previous films about birth include DOULA!, a 50 minute documentary about birth doulas.


Our next film is a follow-up to Freedom For Birth highlighting more cases around the world where midwives are being criminally prosecuted and more violations of mothers human rights, plus what is happening around the world to protect those rights. This will be released in the Spring of 2014.


In the meantime, we are also working on our next big documentary looking at the latest scientific developments in childbirth. This film will be released in the summer of 2014.