ETHICS IN REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE: A MIDWIFERY PERSPECTIVE

Authors

  • Elizabeth S. Sharp CNM, DrPH, FACNM, FAAN

    Corresponding author
      4825 Lake Forrest Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30342.
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    • Elizabeth S. Sharp is a BSN graduate of the University of Michigan and the Yale University School of Nursing, Maternal and Newborn Nursing Program. She earned her doctorate in Public Health at the School of Hygiene and Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Sharp is an associate professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, School of Medicine; professor in the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing; and adjunct professor in the School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.


  • CNMs/CMs and midwives as used herein refer to those midwifery practitioners who are certified by the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) or the ACNM Certification Council, Inc.; midwifery refers to the profession as practiced in accordance with the standards promulgated by the ACNM.

4825 Lake Forrest Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30342.

ABSTRACT

Knowledge and technologic advancements have created a myriad of new screening, diagnostic, and treatment options for women of reproductive age. These new options often raise ethical issues as the women, their health care professionals, and society adapt to the benefits while coping with the pressures and burdens these options create. Threats to accomplishing the good that midwifery strives to contribute to health care for the benefit of women are identified from the perspective of the midwife's instrumental and expressive roles. Suggestions are presented for resolving ethical dilemmas that may occur in the selection and implementation of health care options. A distinction is made between midwifery practice at the microlevel, which achieves the good through direct interaction with the woman, and the institutional macrolevel that promotes accomplishing the good in reproductive health care through policy development and management decisions.

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