Midwives and abortion

I wanted to post this reply to a commenter who wanted to tell me not to link midwifery and abortion in the spectrum of reproductive choice and good reproductive medicine on my own blog.

With all due respect, many people do think the two are intimately linked as the full spectrum of legal reproductive rights. I am happy the journal and the American College of Nurse Midwives took this position. They are supporting medical care above ideology.

There is a difference between being pro-life personally and being for making all forms of induced abortion illegal, which increases maternal death (and cannot be pro-life) and does not reduce abortion rates. If it can be legally and safely performed for any of a variety of reasons, which it thankfully can be in our country, I am for midwives being trained to perform them and licensed to perform them, if that is what they consider to be in their scope of practice. First trimester abortions, which constitute 95% of abortions, are simple, safe procedures that can easily be done by a midwife.

All health care providers get to decide what we consider to be ethical practice. Some may refuse to deliver homosexual or transgender patients, some may refuse to perform abortions, some may refuse to attend illegal aliens. Some may refuse to provide birth control.

I will personally refuse to do circumcisions. If any patients ask my opinion on it, I will tell them. Female circumcision is illegal in this country, so I will not refer out for it. Male circumcision is still legal, so I will refer out any patients who wish to circumcise their male infant.

Deciding to limit one’s own practice does not give anyone the right to unilaterally remove an issue one personally finds offensive from everyone’s discussion.


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3 responses to “Midwives and abortion

  1. Midwives and abortion are historically linked. I have nothing handy to cite, but European witch hunts were tied to political rage over midwives providing birth control and abortion to women. Birth control and abortion meant less citizens, which meant a smaller population, smaller armies, weaker economy and such.

    Midwives served a lot of roles historically, like hiding unwed mothers, providing herbs and remedies, pediatric care and baptizing babies. Before the abdomen became invisible through technological advancements, the midwife served the woman with a baby inside. The current medical/cultural scenario seems to serve the baby that has a protective coating of invisible mother. I’m not saying one is right or wrong. Just an observation.

    I heart midwives, too, Hilary. =)

  2. jendajen

    I have only anecdotal evidence; my great grandmother talked about her midwife to me a little, her mother would hire the same midwife as well when she was alive. She said that the midwife taught her how to handle miscarriages with her mother; and a few times when my gram was first married, when she wasn’t yet 100% sure she was pregnant she helped her with some herbs to bring her period.

  3. MomTFH

    Yes, it is not something that can be separated from midwifery just because some people disagree with it.

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