|I do not know one woman who had a hospital birth (including myself) who made a truly informed decision. I know women who think they did but they are mistaken. All the info needs to be out there and easily available to everyone. How can you weigh the risk and benifits when you don't truly know what they are?|
Do I think it's unethical to choose a hospital birth? Absolutely not. I think it's sad that most women don't have the resources to make a different decision, and that's certainly unethical but who's really to blame-- doctors, schools, television, the government? We can blame everyone but ourselves for this (because we are never wrong, we know what's best for everyone), can't we?
The biggest ethical crisis I see when it comes to birth is people who decide that they are activists because they had homebirths. I think that if the way pregnancy and childbirth are typically managed in this country is, by your own standard, unethical then it is at least as unethical for you to fail in your duty: diseminating information to those who need it, and helping women to make truly informed decisions. It's damn near impossible for most "birth activists" to listen long enough to find out what's needed, and that's really depressing to me.
Is the c-section rate "too high" at your local hospital? Why is that? Who can change it, if not the patients? Hospitals are businesses, they're out to make money and if women demand a different standard of care from them, they will get it. Is homebirth safer than hospital birth? Under what circumstances? Why don't people know this, and what can be done to change it? What circumstances would, in your mind, justify or necessitate obstetrical care? Why and when? If that's not consistant with real life, then do something to change it.
I think that these discussions are unethical, and I think that they're a step backwards for most people. They don't help people to make changes in their communities, and they don't foster a sense of community with other women who are in different situations but need the same information (i.e. they're pregnant). They cause the divide to grow wider-- people who believe that homebirth is the only possible informed decision retreat farther from the mainstream (and, thus, from the women who need to learn about their positions) than ever, and people who believe that hospital birth can be, in some/many/all circumstances a perfectly reasonable, informed choice are made to feel, once again, that they are irresponsible/immoral/unethical/generally rotten people. Irony of ironies, it's the women who are willing to consider the possibility that hospital birth might be warranted who are the most likely to change things in the birthing culture of America. How? By listening, by paying attention, by bringing things to the attention of the medical establishment from which homebirthers have so thorough disaffected themselves.
Doesn't that upset you enough to want to change things?