The Birth Controllers: Limitations on Out-of-Hospital Births


  • Ilene Tanz Gordon R.N., M.S.

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    • Ilene Tanz Gordon, R.N., B.A., (Political Science) M.S., (Nursing) is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia School of Nursing, Vancouver, B.C. She is presently a doctoral candidate in the School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

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The historical trend away from out-of-hospital births and toward hospital births reflects an effort by physicians to retain control of maternity services. Physicians have sought to discourage nonhospital births by reducing consumer demand and by restricting midwifery and physician attendance at nonhospital births. Various strategies have been used to formally and informally restrict birth options. The impact of legislative and other restrictions on place of birth are discussed.