Resisting NHS maternity care charges for migrant women

Presented by Feminist Fightback, an anti-capitalist feminist collective

This workshop will be about how we can resist recent attempts to make healthcare and administrative staff in the NHS check documents before offering maternity care.

We condemn the continuing scapegoating of migrants in relation to the crisis of resources in the health service. Migrants are not responsible for the closure of maternity units, the centralisation of specialist services or the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

We believe that the practice of imposing health charges on pregnant migrant women is barbaric and the first step to creating a payment system for maternity care. The threat of charges acts as a dangerous deterrent to seeking essential care when pregnant.

Timely access to health care in pregnancy and when giving birth can be an issue of life and death for mothers and babies. Charging for maternity services erects a barrier to accessing this essential care for the most vulnerable of women; not only migrants but all who cannot prove their status. It encourages health professionals to engage in amateur racial profiling – to guess by looking who might need to have their status checked.

We call for an end to these dangerous charges, and for locally accessible maternity services for all, with access based on the core principle of the NHS – clinical need, not the ability to pay. Join us for an update about current work in this area followed by a discussion with the aim of developing plans for some feminist direct action.

This post is one of a series announcing all the plenaries, workshops and entertainment at Plan C’s Fast Forward Festival this year. On Facebook? Join the event and follow the page for the latest.