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RCOG responds to Birthrights inquiry into racial injustice in maternity care

23 May 2022

Birthrights’ report Systemic racism, not broken bodies: an inquiry into racial injustice and human rights in UK maternity care’ has been published today.

Informed by testimonies from over 300 people with lived and professional experiences of racial injustice in maternity care, the report also explores key research and survey data. It illustrates the urgent and necessary actions that are required if we are to ensure Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women and pregnant people are receiving maternity care which respects their right to safety, dignity, autonomy, and equality.

Responding to the report, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“This report by Birthrights makes for powerful and upsetting reading and demonstrates just how far we still have to go to ensuring everyone needing maternity care can access it, is listened to, and feels safe.
“Alongside the recent Ockenden review, these findings show how challenges facing the maternity system, including workforce shortages and a lack of long-term consistent investment, can combine with systemic racism and structural barriers and leave women from minority ethnic backgrounds at increased risk and feeling unsafe during their maternity care.

 “We continue to call on the UK Government to commit to a target to drive a sustained reduction in racial and ethnic disparities in maternity outcomes, accompanied by tangible, funded actions which acknowledge the government’s role in tackling the social determinants of health.”

The RCOG is striving to ensure racism and bias is eliminated within obstetrics and gynaecology through its Race Equality Taskforce.


For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7740 175342 or email

Notes to Editor

Find out more about the RCOG’s Race Equality Taskforce:

  • Policy and governance
  • Pregnancy and birth