Speaking of the devil…I just popped over to The Mommy Blawg, and what should be there but an amazing article by Suzanne Hope Suarez that first appeared in the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism: Midwifery is not the Practice of Medicine. This article raises and supports so many of the points I just touched upon in my last post regarding the dangers of the overmedicalization of birth, the prosecution of midwifery and those who fall outside the medical system, and the economic and competitive motives which often underlies this prosecution. Robbie-Davis Floyd is even mentioned, too:
Obstetrical interventions pass for science, even though their use in normal pregnancy is irrational. According to anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd, obstetrical interventions fulfill a rational societal function by diminishing our high-tech society’s extreme fear of birth. Specific cultural services are performed when obstetricians “bring forth a new social member through a maze of wires and electronic bleeps.” Obstetrical rituals convey core values that center around science and technology. Belief in them as “necessary” sustains patriarchal institutional management. We let monitors, intravenous devices, and drugs give birth instead of women, turning the bodies of women who give birth into “machines.” Faith in technology provides a comfortable refuge from the unknown.
Even though this article was written in 1993, almost everything it discusses is still true, or even more true. The c-section rate is no longer 23%, it’s a whopping 29%. Things keep getting worse, not better. No joke. This article is AMAZING, complete with references! Go read it IMMEDIATELY! I cannot stress this enough. We should print out copies of this and tape it to the walls of hospitals, or hand it out on the street, or just randomly place it in mailboxes. This article needs to become public knowledge, ASAP. The time to rediscover midwifery is NOW.