|...natural childbirth was essentially stolen from women in the US when OBs lobbied congress to outlaw midwifery before women had the right to vote.
An act of Congress? Which act was that?
It actually was a bit harder than that. There is the Tenth Amendment which gives the police powers, health, safety and education, to the State. According to Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the booklet, Witches, Midwives & Nurses: A History of Women's Health ,
published by Feminist Press 1972, the "regular doctors" went from state legislature to state legislature in the 1800s to be sure they were the only practitioners licensed to practice in every state of the Union. Therefore, midwives, homeopaths, osteopaths, herbologists, naturopaths, chiropractors and later acupuncturists were marginalized since allopathic medicine is more lucrative. That, with the establishment of the FDA, clinched their hold on healthcare power in every state of the Union.
Only the VA was a federal health concern until the 1950s with the formation of the HEW, later split into the DOE and HHS.
As for doing all of this before women had the vote, it was a sign of upward class mobility to go to the hospital to have a baby. Women's sufferage, Nineteenth Amendment also shot themselves in the foot by working in tandem with the Temperance Unions to pass the Volstead Law and later the Eighteenth Amendment; this gave the government the power to regulate and outlaw substances. The FDA came into power about the same time. All of these movements came together. Almost all drugs were legal before this. You could virtually go into any drug store and buy morphine, codeine, and cocaine any time, any where...
Women lined up to go to the hospital for childbirth at the turn of the century because they were imitating the upper classes that tended to do that. However, mass hospitalization of laboring women did not fully take hold until after WWII when there were extra hospital beds after all of the veterans left them empty after the war, and there was a baby boom.
When I was born at home early in 1954, and my sister in 1955, 1957,... the neighbors thought my parents were too poor to afford the hospital. That was the attitude, the mindset. It was considered upward mobility into the upper class to go into the hospital and get drugged with amnesiacs and hallucinate during labor.
Now that is progress!
|but do we still have a warped view as a society surrounding birth
See Doris Haire's booklet, The Cultural Warping of Childbirth;
she was a poor woman from OK who happened to marry up. She had her first child in the hospital and was treated very well because she was the wife of a wealthy attorney. She knew this and worked to change labor and delivery for the rest of us; she is a strong advocate of homebirth.http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-17111670.html