An International Women's Day message from WRA UK's Director Brigid McConville:
I hope you are enjoying all the messages and events in support of women around the world today! We're very proud that globally maternal deaths have gone down by half in recent years, and that - with your support - our White Ribbon Alliance colleagues in Africa and Asia are so actively holding their governments to account for their promises to women.
Meanwhile in England our own government - which rightly supports free maternity care in many developing countries - has imposed charges on some of the poorest and most vulnerable pregnant women, those who are undocumented migrants (such as refused asylum seekers, those seeking to regularise their residency after a lapsed visa and others who have lived here below the radar for years).
We are hearing of pregnant women too afraid to go to hospital in case they can't pay or might face deportation. Midwives are telling us of the professional dilemmas they face - and how access to care in England can be worse than in developing nations. This is why the White Ribbon Alliance UK Charity has shifted focus to campaign for free maternity care for all on our home ground. Migration is a complex matter but all women have a right to decent maternity care regardless. If you agree, please join us in taking action to support the cross-party private members bill put forward by Caroline Lucas MP on the NHS which gets its second reading this Friday 11th March.
We greatly value your support, feedback and ideas on how we can continue to press for safe birth for all women, wherever they come from, wherever they live.
All best wishes,
Director, WRA UK