Audio Feature: Death of a Newborn Baby – A Midwife on Trial

Audio Feature: Death of a Newborn Baby – A Midwife on Trial

Eva Schindele, Katja Baumgarten

In 2014, the district court of Dortmund sentenced midwife Anna Rockel-Loenhoff to six-and-a-half years’ imprisonment for manslaughter, plus forced her to pay compensation and banned her from working as a midwife ever again. During the two-year-long trial, various differing perspectives on childbirth were presented: risk-oriented obstetrics opposed by individual-based midwifery that aligns with the wishes and right to decide of parents. However, why the little girl involved in the case died at birth remained contested right to the end. Journalist Dr. Eva Schindele documented the trial for WDR/SWR and produced the radio feature Death of a Newborn Baby – A Midwife on Trial (D 2016, 53 min.) that goes beyond the actual and much-discussed case to explore issues of women’s autonomy and the power of institutions. The feature was nominated for the Juliane Bartel Media Prize. After the radio feature there is a discussion with Dr. Eva Schindele and film- maker and midwife Katja Baumgarten, who is currently working on a documentary about the subject.

In cooperation with bodo das Straßenmagazin


Eva Schindele


Dorothea Runge



Eva Schindele

Dr. Eva Schindele studied Social Sciences and Psychology. Since 1984 she has worked as a freelance scientific journalist and writer, primarily for the ARD radio broadcaster and various print media in the fields of medicine, ethics and social sciences. She has written non-fiction books (including Gläserne Gebär-Mütter [The Glass Womb], Pfusch an der Frau [The Botch Job on the Woman]) and also essays on women’s health and medical ethics. Also, she has developed evidence-based patient information, for example on breast cancer screening or childbirth. She lives in Bremen and has two grown-up children.

Katja Baumgarten

Katja Baumgarten has been a midwife since 1981 and has worked in hospitals and for 25 years as a home birth midwife. She studied and taught Fine Arts and Film and has produced several documentaries, including the cinema documentary film My Little One. Since 2000, she has written for the Deutsche Hebammen Zeitschrift, among others. Between August 2012 and October 2014, she covered the entire jury trial in Dortmund, reporting extensively on the case in specialist journals. She has three adult children and lives and works as a journalist and freelance film-maker in Hanover.