Is birth a human right? Clearly not, as millions of women around the world are infertile or have other conditions and complications that prevent them from giving birth, even if they wish to do so. There is no guaranteed right to be able to get pregnant and give birth. So why are we discussing birth as a human rights issue? Because we deeply believe that women who do get pregnant should have what we consider to be the basic human right of humane and evidence-based maternity care. It’s not about the right to give birth—it’s about the right to receive appropriate care when you do.
Anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd shares her experiences speaking about birth in Latin American countries, and identifies at least 21 ingredients necessary for creating a social movement that can effectively bring about birth change.
According to the international definition, a midwife is one who graduates from a program duly recognized in its jurisdiction. In the developing world, this generally means a two-year government training program.
For the past few years I have listened with dismay to direct-entry midwives criticizing nurse-midwives as “medwives”… and to nurse-midwives talking about professional direct-entry midwives as if they don’t know very much, and working in some states to pass exclusionary laws.