New Terms for Old Problems

by Courtroom Mama on November 8, 2010

This morning, I nearly spit out my coffee from sheer joy when I saw Jill’s post on the Unnecesarean highlighting a law in Venezuela outlawing “obstetrical violence.” According to an editorial in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, obstetric violence is:

…the appropriation of the body and reproductive processes of women by health personnel, which is expressed as dehumanized treatment, an abuse of medication, and to convert the natural processes into pathological ones, bringing with it loss of autonomy and the ability to decide freely about their bodies and sexuality, negatively impacting the quality of life of women.

I am putting this here as a means of putting a pin in it (damn you NaBloPoMo) because I have a lot more to say about this than the few minutes available to me right now allow. More later!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca S November 8, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Yeah that term is really great. Helps as 1) an alternative to the term 'birth rape,' 2) with defining reproductive justice as it applies to birth (institutionalized obstetric violence being the opposite of reproductive justice?) and 3) as an extension of obstetric conflict (aka 'maternal-fetal conflict').


Jenne November 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm

That was just about my reaction today. I think its time for that Lancet or Birth article describing what this looks like for American women.
My recent post Check that off the Bucket List


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