Pushing for Midwives: Homebirth Mothers and the Reproductive Rights Movement

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Temple University Press, Oct 22, 2010 - Medical - 208 pages

With the increasing demand for midwives, activists are lobbying to loosen restrictions that deny legal access to homebirth options. In Pushing for Midwives, Christa Craven presents a nuanced history of women’s reproductive rights activism in the U.S. She also provides an examination of contemporary organizing strategies for reproductive rights in an era increasingly driven by “consumer rights.”

An historical and ethnographic case study of grassroots organizing, Pushing for Midwives is an in-depth look at the strategies, successes, and challenges facing midwifery activists in Virginia. Craven examines how decades-old race and class prejudices against midwives continue to impact opposition to—as well as divisions within—women’s contemporary legislative efforts for midwives. By placing the midwifery struggle within a broader reproductive rights context, Pushing for Midwives encourages activists to reconsider how certain political strategies have the potential to divide women. This reflection is crucial in the wake of neoliberal political-economic shifts that have prioritized the rights of consumers over those of citizens—particularly if activists hope to maintain their commitment to expanding reproductive rights for all women.

 

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Thoughtful and important. Her discussion of the history of midwifery could be stronger--omits some recent and important contributions.

Contents

Pushing for Midwives
1
1 Histories of Struggle
24
2 The Birth of Consumer Activism for Midwives
40
3 Midwives in Virginia
61
4 Mothers in the Legislature
79
5 Im Not Really Politically Active but
97
6 Divisive Strategies
115
Beyond Consumer Rights
139
Notes
149
Bibliography
181
Index
201
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About the author (2010)

Christa Craven is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the College of Wooster.

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