The Birth Whisperer (and just about everyplace else in the birthosphere) has published a sign posted in the Aspen Women’s Center in Utah, USA.


Description: A teal sign on an office wall, reading:

Because the physicians at Aspen Women’s Center care about the quality of their patient’s[sic] deliveries and are very concerned about the welfare and health of your unborn child, we will not participate in: a “Birth Contract”, a Doulah[sic] Assisted, or a Bradley Method of delivery.

For those patients who are interested in such methods, please notify the nurse so that we may arrange transfer of your care.

What struck me first about this sign was, somehow, not the illegality of refusing the presence of a doula at a birth and refusing informed consent for obstetric procedures, but the massive, glaring, deliberate omission of the woman in that opening clause.

These doctors are not concerned with women. These doctors are not concerned with women’s welfare. These doctors are not concerned with women’s health. These doctors see “delivery” (not “birth”, note) as a transaction between fetus and doctor, in which a woman is no more than an annoying, obstructive, hostile incubator. These doctors insist, explicitly, upon their dominion over women’s bodies.

They demand that their power be absolute – to the point of forbidding women to educate themselves, to the point of isolating women from sources of support, to the point of refusing women the right to decline them free access to their vaginas. This is the very definition of “abuse”.

Sadly, as so many have noted, all they’re doing is making it explicit. They’re not the only doctors with this attitude, with these rules. The only difference between them and many others is that they declare their hatred for you up front, instead of springing it on you later.


Lauredhel blogs about reproductive justice and medicine, among other things, at Hoyden about Town.

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