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Marginalization of Midwives in the United States: New Responses to an Old Story

Authors

  • Judith P Rooks CNM, MPH,

    Corresponding author
    1. 1Judith Rooks was President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives from 1983 to 1985 and is a consultant and epidemiologist in Portland, Oregon. 2Eunice K.M. Ernst is in her second term as President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and holds the Mary Breckinridge Chair for Midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky. 3Judy Norsigian is Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts. 4Larissa Guran founded Birth Options Alliance in Washington, DC, and is Executive Director of BOLD (formerly Birth On Labor Day), an international effort to inspire communities to use the arts to create a new, mother-centered global culture around birth.
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  • 1 Eunice K.M. Ernst CNM, MPH,

    1. 1Judith Rooks was President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives from 1983 to 1985 and is a consultant and epidemiologist in Portland, Oregon. 2Eunice K.M. Ernst is in her second term as President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and holds the Mary Breckinridge Chair for Midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky. 3Judy Norsigian is Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts. 4Larissa Guran founded Birth Options Alliance in Washington, DC, and is Executive Director of BOLD (formerly Birth On Labor Day), an international effort to inspire communities to use the arts to create a new, mother-centered global culture around birth.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • 2 Judy Norsigian,

    1. 1Judith Rooks was President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives from 1983 to 1985 and is a consultant and epidemiologist in Portland, Oregon. 2Eunice K.M. Ernst is in her second term as President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and holds the Mary Breckinridge Chair for Midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky. 3Judy Norsigian is Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts. 4Larissa Guran founded Birth Options Alliance in Washington, DC, and is Executive Director of BOLD (formerly Birth On Labor Day), an international effort to inspire communities to use the arts to create a new, mother-centered global culture around birth.
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  • and 3 Larissa A. Guran MPH, CD (DONA) 4

    1. 1Judith Rooks was President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives from 1983 to 1985 and is a consultant and epidemiologist in Portland, Oregon. 2Eunice K.M. Ernst is in her second term as President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives and holds the Mary Breckinridge Chair for Midwifery at the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing in Hyden, Kentucky. 3Judy Norsigian is Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts. 4Larissa Guran founded Birth Options Alliance in Washington, DC, and is Executive Director of BOLD (formerly Birth On Labor Day), an international effort to inspire communities to use the arts to create a new, mother-centered global culture around birth.
    Search for more papers by this author

Address correspondence to Judith Rooks at jprooks1@comcast.net.

Abstract

ABSTRACT: This column addresses issues raised by an intensive study of the circumstances and actions that resulted in the closure of two long-standing, successful nurse-midwifery services in a large United States city in 2003. Dr. Steffie Goodman of the School of Nursing, University of Colorado Health Science Center in Denver, USA, conducted 52 in-depth interviews with midwives, nurses, administrators, childbirth educators, policymakers, and physicians in an effort to understand how and why these two services were closed and what their closures revealed about the general underutilization of midwives in contemporary U.S. health care. Goodman concluded that economics, power, and authority converge in a way that allows persons in positions of institutional power and authority to make self-serving decisions that diminish access to midwifery services and that they can do so without any public accountability for their actions. (BIRTH 35:2 June 2008)

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