The concept of choice has featured prominently in both the recent united Kingdom (UK) health care reforms and in the debate relating to the care of childbearing women. An invitation to the USA facilitated contemplation of the health care system on which the recent UK reforms have been modeled. The impact of the health system on mother's choices was a source of particular interest. The implications for midwives, their practice and their relationships with their clients and colleagues emerge clearly. It may be that the United States' model of health care does not answer the needs of the UK.