Wasn't sure whether I should post this on my mommy blog or here. Ended up here. Pennsylvania is trying to outlaw lay-midwives (i.e. mid-wives who don't have nursing degrees and learn through apprenticeship instead). Now, on reading this my initial reaction was "here we go again..." but then when I read further down the article I was surprised by a quote by Sarah Kilpatrick, head of ob-gyn at the University of Illinois and vice chair of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist's obstetric practice committee, who said "Why don't we have direct-entry doctors who don't want to go to medical school? We wouldn't tolerate that for physician basic care. Our standards for care for women should be the same,". She preempted this statement by saying that she was a "big fan" of nurse-midwives, it's just the lay-midwives she was concerned about.
I thought her statement was interesting. The problem is two-fold though: a) she assumes in her statement that women (in particular pregnant women) receive the same care that men do. Well, as my law professor used to chant at us "reverse the sexes and compare!"- unfortunately there is no comparable situation here for male patients, so in the case of pregnant women v. men, we can't see a comparison. But it is clear that pregnant women often do not receive care that is of an acceptable standard. Furthermore there is no similar history either of how women's bodies have been medicalized, especially in terms of the medicalization of pregnancy and childbirth. And b) she assumes that the medicalization of chidbirth (which is clear in her comparison of mid-wive care with physician care) is always the best option.
But nonetheless by stating that standards of care should be the same for women as they are for men she is highlighting that at the moment they are not!