Licensure Nonphysician Clinicians Regulation

Home Births: Feminists vs. OB/GYNs

Why aren’t physicians more supportive of home births and midwifery?  The answer is that it eats into their market share and reduces their income.

[In the 1970s] feminists argued that medical care needed to be demystified and women’s lives demedicalized.  They maintained that childbirth was not a disease and normal deliveries did not require hospitalization and the supervision of an obsterician.

The conflict over home birth proved to be one of the most bitter between the medical profession and the women’s movement.  While no state forbade home birth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists actively discouraged it as unconscionably risky.  Doctors who participated in home births by offering backup in emergencies were threatened with loss of hospital privileges and even their medical licenses.  Midwives in California were prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license.

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