Liberatory Midwifery: Towards People-Powered Health Care

Martha Roberts

Despite a history embedded in social movements, Registered Midwifery is now situated in petty bourgeois professionalism and biomedical practice. Following the medically-unattended home birth of my daughter in 1997, I became involved in the struggle for legalized and publicly-funded midwifery. I believed that the right to access state-funded midwifery was important, as was the protection of midwives from state persecution, court trials, jail sentences for practising medically-restricted acts,1 and inquests resulting from babies born with birth injuries or who died during birth.2 At that time, I was largely unaware of the trade-offs that state-sanctioned and funded midwifery would bring.
I am now a Registered Midwife working in a collective, community-based storefront clinic that I co-founded in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.  My midwifery practice is in constant struggle with the bourgeois institutional and biomedical frameworks within which I function.

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