Who we are

The Birth Freedom Israel movement (Hatnu’ah Lehofesh Bchira Baleida) is a nonprofit organization that was established in 2004 with the intention to promote and advocate for women’s human rights during pregnancy and birth. 

It set out to transform the field of birthing in Israel, recognizing the growing frustration with the local health system's attitude toward mothers and their newborn babies, and the increasing number of women reporting violations of their fundamental right to personal autonomy and freedom of choice during labor and delivery.

Today, we operate in the legal, media and educational realms to ensure women's rightful place at the center of their birth process, with their rights fully secured and upheld, and the sacredness of their birthing journeys protected.

Our Goals

To improve medical and nursing care in all maternal health clinics, and make sure that all professional care of women is respectful and supportive of their fundamental right to freedom of choice and autonomy at all times

To advance relevant policy and legal changes

To increase the freedom of choice throughout the process (where to give birth, in what way, which interventions to agree to and which to refuse, and more)

To promote and raise awareness to human (women) rights during pregnancy and childbirth

Our Projects

״Kav Layoledet״
A Helpline for Post-Birth Women

Our helpline was founded in order to give support and assistance to women who were harmed or whose rights were violated during pregnancy and/or birth. Underpinning this is the understanding that there is a phenomenon of violence against women in the gynecological and obstetric context, known as obstetric violence, and that there is a need to break the silence and raise awareness to the issue.

The helpline is operated by volunteers who are trained by the NGO, and its goal is to give initial/ first-aid assistance in various ways, ranging from compassionate listening,  support in writing a letter, and providing referrals to therapists and/or lawyers. 

A 60-page testimonials-based report
(2014 – 2017)

Almost 700 calls were received by our helpline volunteers since its inception some 9 years ago. In the past year, we have been working diligently to create this extensive, in-depth report. Complete with data, information chapters and recommendations, it provides a way to monitor our (and the country’s) progress. It is our intention to create an annual report from 2023 on. 

Read the report (in Hebrew) here

Report submitted to the UN

In May 2019, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Dr. Dubravka Simonovic, issued a call for submissions in order to collect information from countries, organizations and researchers worldwide about the phenomenon of obstetric violence.

As early as 2015, the UN published an official statement acknowledging this phenomenon, using the term ‘disrespect and abuse during childbirth’. Five years later, the term ‘violence’ was used, and it was mentioned that the submitted reports would serve as a basis for a comprehensive report that will be presented by Dr. Simonovic at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. 

In the report that we submitted in response, we referred to background data in the medical system regarding childbirth and reproductive healthcare, data regarding interventions and lack of transparency, initial data from testimonials that has reached our Helpline for the Birthing Woman, initial data taken from the survey conducted with the Keren Briah organization about women’s preferences in birth, data about ‘zero separation’ between mothers and newborns, postpartum depression and postpartum PTSD in Israel, the working conditions of the medical staff, secondary trauma, information regarding the Patient Rights Act-1996, the absence of the phenomenon of obstetric violence from public discourse, the limitations of existing rights enforcement mechanisms, barriers to filing complaints, and finally, operative recommendations. 

Read our report to the UN here

Our Inter-organizational Forum  – “The Parliament”

In August of 2021, we founded the forum of birth-related organizations with the objective of creating an open communication channel that will allow personal acquaintance, sharing of ideas, and cooperation. 

Thus far, we’ve organized a joint campaign for changing the midwifery staffing ratio to a one-to-one ratio (a midwife for every woman),written the Parliament’s Vision Statement about women’s rights throughout the childbirth process with numerous organizations and prominent individuals signing it. It is our hope that this document will serve as a widely accepted basis for many future initiatives and changes, a sort of constitution.

Read the inter-organizational vision statement (in Hebrew) here

Our Supreme Court Appeal and Win –
“Zchuti Laledet”

In March of 2017, the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued an order against freestanding natural birth centers operating outside of hospitals, an order which is in opposition to the standard policy in most Western countries, and violates the rights of women who are interested in a natural birth outside of a hospital.

After a struggle of four and a half years, a revolutionary legal precedent was set over a 75-page verdict.

Thus wrote Justice of the Supreme Court, Dafna Barak Erez, in her verdict:

“The decision of the Ministry of Health not to allow women to birth in a natural birthing center brings about, essentially, a narrowing down of possibilities for the pregnant woman in every aspect relating to the process of birth, having a real impact on the possibility of controlling a process happening in her own body. It [the decision] affects these women’s ability to tell their life story, and more specifically – their birth story. This is not a small matter, but a limitation of their ability to choose regarding a pivotal/momentous, sometimes one-time event, in the life of a woman.

We won the appeal but are still battling the MOH’s attempt to now over-regulate those birth centers.Read the Supreme Court verdict (in Hebrew) here

Translations of our list of human rights in childbirth to relevant languages

Our diverse volunteers translated our list of rights into the following languages: English, Arabic, French, Amharic, Russian and Israeli sign language. All translations, in PDF form and video, are available on our website.

Read & Watch the translations here

An awareness raising conference for members of the media and the public

Members of the press are no different than members of the public. They are just as unaware. However, in order to raise public awareness we must have a lot more exposure on TV, radio, newspapers and online media. We are, therefore, planning to offer a large scale conference for as many journalists and editors as possible. 

Thus, in March 2023 we offered a full day Zoom conference, packed with short lectures on topics such as birth economics, legal aspects, birth and trauma, obstetric violence, and more. The conference was attended by more than 100 people and all talks are available on our website and YouTube Channel. 

Listen to all talks (in Hebrew) here


To follow our 2022 survey that asked women who gave birth in the past five years about their experience, we conducted another one in May 2023 (both in Hebrew and Arabic) targeting those who gave birth in a hospital since May 2022. Over 1,200 women responded.

Testimonials, such as these two, are the reason we do what we do:

"They just broke my water, without informing me and held me so that I wouldn't resist… I felt like I had been raped."

"I asked to be covered several times because I was exposed and they just ignored me."

Here are some of the survey’s results:

One out of five women described her birth experience as bad, terrible or traumatic.

About 64% said that their privacy was violated.

24% reported offensive verbal communication, disrespectful treatment and/or neglect by the medical staff.

33% felt pressured to agree to a medical procedure.

About 50% of respondents felt that someone else was making the decisions regarding their own birth.

40% reported not feeling safe to express their concerns and wishes, fearing that it may influence the quality of care.

48% of the women who underwent a caesarean section said that they did not receive an explanation of the risks involved before being asked to sign a consent form.

Our Ongoing and Future Plans

Human rights in childbirth explanatory video series

This is a series of professionally made short videos explaining various rights, so that every pregnant woman, as well as professionals and the members of the general public, have an easily accessible way to educate themselves on the topic at hand.

The first video in this series is finally done and we are very proud of it.

Watch it (in Hebrew) here

A Course for obstetricians and midwives at Wolfson hospital

A committee, that includes members of the organization and Wolfson’s heads of women’s health and labor & delivery ward, created an in-depth course to teach all staff members (doctors, midwives, nurses, and others) what isn’t being taught in medical and nursing schools. This pilot project started in April 2023, with and exciting opening event. Our hope is to eventually teach it at all hospitals and relevant schools, in order to improve women’s experience and outcomes. 

New law proposals

The Israeli Patient's Bill of Rights does not cover maternal rights fully, which along with the many incidences of mistreatment and obstetric violence, calls for a new and specific law. We are well into the process of writing a proposal for that bill. Its purpose is to offer a new way of caring for pregnant and birthing women, one that will assure a respect for their basic human rights (i.e, autonomy and freedom of choice), clearly define harmful actions and outlaw them. 

On top of that, in March 2023, following our initiative, a revolutionary new law proposal was placed on the Knesset’s  table. Put forth by Knesset members Michal Shir of Yes Atid and Keti Shitrit of the Likud, this bill will lead to equal rights for women who choose to give birth in the community (outside hospitals). It sets out to compare the birth-grant awarded to hospitals as compensation for each and every birth, with a grant to cover the expenses of home or birth-center births, thus giving the freedom to choose where to give birth to all women, including those with no or limited financial abilities. 

Public relations (PR)

Executive director of Birth Freedom Israel, Hayuta Goren, is a California RN, with a Master’s degree in Integrative Health and MInd-Body Medicine. She’d written numerous articles and been interviewed many times about topics related to human rights in childbirth, mostly in Hebrew. Here are her two Jerusalem Post’s opinion articles: 

Human Rights in Childbirth (5/14/2023)

Giving birth is a basic human right that shouldn't be violated (11/27/2022)

A childbirth preparation seminar for Bedouin women in the Negev

In a conversation that we had with Bedouin women about their birth experiences, we discovered that the vast majority of them never take a childbirth prep class. This, of course, affects their ability to understand the system and figure out what they need and want. So we decided to ‘teach the teachers’ and formed an impressive group of professional women (Bedwin, Arab and Jewish) to plan and create this course. The plan is to offer a two to three day seminar for those future Bedwin child-birth prep instructors, complete with all necessary tools and materials, hopefully before the end of 2023.

From the Media

May 14, 2023   

Human Rights in Childbirth - Opinion by Hayuta Goren
The Jerusalem Post

A country that enshrines civil equality and also proudly holds the title for the highest birth rate of all OECD countries – must treat its women with the utmost respect. By Hayuta Goren

  November 27, 2022

Giving Birth is a Basic Human Right that Shouldn't be Violated
The Jerusalem Post

The process of giving bith belongs to the woman and should be controlled by her, not the doctors. By Hayuta Goren


We entirely depend on the generosity of private donors, big and small, in order to keep this amazing organization afloat and continue working towards the realization of our vision and goals.