Thursday, August 26, 2010

Women's Equality Day

It was on August 26, 1920, that women finally obtained the right to vote with passage in the U.S. Congress of the 19th Amendment!

According to the website of the National Women's History Project:

"The observance of Women's Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women's continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities now participate with Women's Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities."

You've probably guessed what I'm going to say, but I would love to see all women have equal access to to quality birth care--that would include the Midwives Model of Care (equally applicable in hospital settings as well), the Six Healthy Birth Practices (Lamaze) as the standard of care, and simple respect of women's voices about their wishes in birth. As it is now, women are limited in this equal access by geographic region, insurance coverage, financial need, legal restrictions, VBAC bans, and lack of available midwives to name a few. Some people take a, "where there's a will there's a way approach--I'd do anything it took to pay for my midwife and have my baby at home," but I believe it is much more complicated and multifaceted than that.

As I think about Women's Equality Day, I also think about this quote from Raven Lang in her 1972 classic, Birth Book:

“Birth has not only reached the absurdity of having to be relearned, it also has the absurdity of becoming a criminal offense if we are to go ahead with our ideals and do things the way we desire. And so, because of the system, midwifery as practiced in this book is against the law. It has become political. We didn’t make it that way. For us it is a beautiful, personal, spiritual, sexual experience. And for us to have that, we become criminals.”

I shared this quote on the CfM Facebook page and several people commented that not much has changed today...

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