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What rights do mothers who suffer early pregnancy loss have?

Health centers that treat mothers with early pregnancy loss must take measures to minimize their emotional distress. This is clear from the recent ruling 30437-2022 of the Constitutional Court. In this blog we analyze this important ruling.

A woman who was 8 months pregnant lost her baby before it was born. At the hospital, she was placed in an isolated space from the other mothers and newborns. However, on one occasion one of the nurses at the medical center weighed a newborn in the room she was in. In addition, on her way to the bathroom, the plaintiff saw mothers holding children in their arms. The Constitutional Court heard the case of the affected woman.

The Constitutional Court stressed that the health authorities must take measures to minimize or reduce the psycho-emotional distress of mothers with early pregnancy loss. In the opinion of the Court, this follows from the right of individuals to access health services. The High Court concluded that in this case the authorities of the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS) did not take these measures. The Chamber considered that “the plaintiff was not provided adequate preventive care, not isolating her from visual or physical contact with other mothers and their newborn children, but rather during her stay at the Dr. Max Hospital Peralta Jiménez she was in contact with neonates, when said situation could have been avoided, placing her in a place of isolation, in order to avoid affecting her emotional or mental health.”

Considering the above, the Constitutional Court ordered the CCSS to implement the Clinical Protocol for Comprehensive Care for Women with Early Pregnancy Loss in all hospitals in the country, to update the «Health Care Guide for Women in the post-abortion» of 2006, as well as the «Methodological Manual for the architectural development of obstetric services based on the model of qualified care in pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.” In addition, the Court ordered the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service of the Dr. Max Peralta Hospital to set up an area within the same period to place mothers who have suffered early pregnancy loss while hospitalized at the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service, as well as drafting a protocol for these situations.

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M.Sc. Ana Isabel Sibaja Rojas

CELIG – Center for Equal Litigation