Pro-Choice Childbirthing

Amie Newman

Why are doctors in Missouri standing in the way of women's ability to choose the way they birth and under whose care? This is a pro-choice issue with, according to Jennifer Block, some unlikely advocates.

You want to talk about being pro-choice? How about allowing women actual choices in the kind of care they receive during childbirth? If the progressive reproductive health community wants to promote women's health and status, we must prioritize the "politics of childbirth" in our agenda.

Here's the story: Midwives in Missouri are outraged. But just a few weeks ago they were celebrating a victory for women and their families in their state. Governor Blunt had signed a bill legalizing the practice of Certified Professional Midwifery, ending 48 years of midwifery being categorized as a felony in Missouri. So what happened?

The Missouri State Medical Association has made it clear that they do not want midwifery legalized in their state and have taken action to overturn the new law. According to Jennifer Block, author of Pushed: The Painful Truth About Midwives and Modern Maternity Care:

"The physician group is fighting the legislation in court, and recently won a temporary restraining order. Its argument has been twofold: the measure makes birth less safe for women and babies, and its inclusion in the insurance bill was unconstitutional. I could go out on a limb and say that these medical professionals aren't bothering to sue over legislative formality, but I'll go even further and say that their concern isn't exactly women's safety either."

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