Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why Birth is Fundamental Pro-Choice Issue

As my first real post, I'm going to re-post an entry from my personal blog. I wrote this a couple of months ago, and writing it was one of the moments where I thought "Man, I should have a blog about just this stuff." I really want people to understand how all of these issues - reproductive rights, reproductive health, birth, abortion, childcare subsidies, health insurance, public health initiatives - aren't just connected. They are the same thing.


I could go on about this for hours, possibly days, but there is so much in the birth world right now that seems to be such a neat parallel to the fight for abortion rights - until you realize it isn't a parallel, it's the same thing. That's the reason I go to such amazing birth workshops at the Reproductive Rights conference every year: reproductive rights go all the way from birth control to birth. Right now, to me, there is almost no area in which we see the state exerting more control over women's bodies. This story isn't common, but I venture to say it's only because more woman don't challenge the system. Try to refuse an intervention at the hospital based on not just your own understanding of best practices, but on solid evidence from excellent research, and watch how fast they come at you with dire warnings that you are PUTTING YOUR BABY AT RISK. Even as small a thing as refusing continuous fetal monitoring - proven over and over again to do nothing to reduce risk to the baby, but plenty to increase risk of cesarean - means snippy, angry nurses, endless badgering, and the prevailing attitude that you think you're better somehow, but you're NOT, and why can't you be like all the OTHER nice, compliant women who strap on the belts and lie in bed - THEY love their babies, why don't you? I've never witnessed legal threats, but I think it's easy for this attitude to cross the line from emotional (and physical) manipulation to stronger forms of pressure.


And in going back to that post to get the text, I saw that my friend Seth posted some questions for me a couple days later that I never saw. Sorry, Seth! On the other hand, they're really excellent questions and now I'm going to use the answers as my next post. He asked:

My instinct is that things can't be as simple as you and the author of the linked page seem to think, but I am very poorly educated on these issues, so let me just ask some questions:

1. If the obstetrician truly believed there was a serious risk to not performing a C-section, did he do the wrong thing? Did the hospital director? Did the judge? Did the sheriff?

2. If there is indeed a serious disconnect between the opinions of doctors on these issues and the consensus of the scientific community, how did it arise? How can it be fixed?

3. To what degree, if any, should the best outcome for the unborn child be taken into account if it is contrary to the wishes of the mother? (Whether the two actually are in conflict is not the issue for this question.)

All this really starts getting to the heart of how these issues are linked, and I am eager to start the discussion! That post will probably come in a couple days, as I have about 10 hours of driving to do in the next 24.

1 comment:

sethrates said...

It's funny how you say "all this really starts getting to the heart of how these issues are linked," when the purpose of my questions was to separate the various issues involved.