Text of a paper I originally submitted October 1, 2013 for MDWF 100 at Midwives College of Utah
The current and future shape of maternity care in America is being batted about like a beach ball upon the waves of a nationwide and worldwide socio-political power struggle. Everyone claims to want what is in the best interest of the motherbaby, but the agreement ends there, as debate foments over how optimum outcomes are effectively achieved. Those in health care who I will call Interventionists advocate the active management of birth, with its numerous accompanying benefits to obstetricians, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry. It is mostly patriarchal. A growing opposition to Interventionist practice has risen from others who I will call Restorationists. These individuals view birth as a primarily low-risk, natural event that ought to be restored to the throne of matriarchy, or the traditional setting of the home, to be tended by midwives devoted to offering extensive individualized care. Both sides view government as part of the solution and actively seek its power to enact the legislative and social force they believe is necessary to create real and permanent change.
I had read Born In The USA before, but I think my recent experiences as a birth doula made Marsden Wagner’s writings take new life. Everything seemed more comprehensible, applicable and vital. I recognized scenarios from my own births and births I have attended. I was even more horrified by the story of Cytotec than I was before, because hospitals here still use it. Like some modern 99 Theses, I wanted to nail Table 4 from page 66 to the door of every L&D room in my region. What just seemed like political babble before was startling to me this time, as I finally fathomed the modern Hanseatic League that is ACOG and the blind pride behind the defense of its power and its refusal to truly accept and advocate for evidence-based practice. I felt proud of the Restorationists for taking this bull by the horns, making it theirs and running with it!
As I was reading, I couldn’t help thinking of Hugh Nibley’s lecture, Patriarchy and Matriarchy, as it pertains to the current battle between Interventionists and Restorationists.
However, I was also disturbed and dismayed to discern what I feel are dark shadows within the Restorationist movement. I thought I left these behind when I left my graduate studies in the School of Social Work. Namely, the current trend within heath care education and professional organizations, including MANA, which embraces the flawed theories of social justice – with its government-as-savior globalist socialist worldview. Does there need to be a Birth Revolution? Yes. But in this country shouldn’t it be carried out in a libertarian manner? For at the heart of birth Restorationist belief are we not champions of personal liberty? I say, let the capitalist system work! Untie its hands and restore original Constitutional law! Less laws and more freedoms would let the money-loving Interventionists die a natural death as educated consumers took their money and maternity elsewhere. I deeply disagree with advancing the Midwifery Model of Care via forced implementation, that is, by means of a National Health Care System; international treaties with foreign powers like WHO or the UN; or top-down, federal and state controlled standardization of systems, even getting so power hungry that control goes right on down to the paperwork we use and who gets to access it – such as is demanded by the Safe Motherhood initiative and Amnesty International. The United Nations is not our friend, neither are the depopulating aims of its Agenda 21, nor are many of our traitorous statesmen in Washington. When Wagner mentioned the concept of omerta, I was dismayed to recognize in its description behaviors I have personally observed among midwives, doulas and other birth professionals (including educators) that I have met. May we never be so afraid of each other that we sacrifice our integrity and the welfare of our clients in the name of the silent solidarity of self-serving professional unity.
The Interventionist form of birth functions with great autonomy, almost like a kingdom within itself. When a laboring woman crosses the border into their realm, she is expected to surrender her passport to basic human rights, and lay down on the sacrificial altar to await dispatch. Few know about CoP or EMTALA. The victim is disrobed and given new vestments, unconsciously incorporating herself into the position of pawn on this chessboard of hierarchically dressed “citizens”. She doesn’t know that the object of the game is not so much her idea of a desired birth outcome (thought it is nice when the pawn survives) as much as it is to maintain the system – defending the Queen of Profit, Protection (from litigation) and Prestige. Our pawn is unaware that the shiny, awe-and-fear-inducing armor the Knights-Obstetricar wear and the scalpels they wield are not so much for her benefit as for their own use and demonstration of prowess (which they are ever ready and anxious to display). Little is reported back to the other pawns on the chessboard about the Knights, Hospital Rooks and Pharmaceutical Bishops colluding to 1.) suppress negative reports from the battlefield, 2) continue the use of outdated technologies or strategies and 3.) stubbornly refuse to utilize proven ones. Yes, when there is a damsel in distress, it’s handy to have a Knight-Obstetricar around. That’s why we have them. But most times it’s best for wise pawns to be wary. Completely avoiding the dangerous machinations on the chessboard and staying safely encased away in her own world with her own hand-picked ladies-in-waiting is the best way to ensure that she is the Queen at her birthing experience
Restorationist libertarian midwives can help accomplish that kind of freedom. We need women willing to give their lives away to “the Call”, going where the need is, to stay with and live among the peoples they serve. To paraphrase Kennedy, we need women that ask not what their country can do for them (or what their country can make others do for them) but what they can do for others and for their country. Webster’s 1913 dictionary doesn’t even list the word, activist and when I studied it out, I discovered that the modern definitions often connote one whose aim it is to overturn current governance. If it is a chessboard like the former midwifery law of the state of California, then I am all for state and local activism. But I am not, and never will be for overturning the structure of our Constitutional form of republican government. I am an aspiring certified professional midwife and that means I trust people. I trust that most people, once they have been educated to the truth, will advocate for themselves, rejecting what is false and wrong. Furthermore, I trust that “without compulsory means” women and their families will flow in to join the wave of the Restorationist movement. I mean, look at the fall 2013 freshman enrollment at MCU! Nobody legislated us here or social-justiced us here! We came because we found what we sought and we came of our own free will and choice. Therefore, it is my hope that the Restorationist movement will cast out the popular Pied Piper of Marxist-ridden Academia currently persuading us that it is right and justifiable to resort to the song of “let’s force this birth! Trust me, this is for your own good”, lest we become Interventionists too.