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

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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)

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-536X.2008.00231.x

Affiliations: 1: Eunice 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 2: Judy Norsigian is Executive Director of Our Bodies Ourselves in Boston, Massachusetts

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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