Rambling Road Family Wellness and Chiropractic specializes in chiropractic wellness care for all age groups and continued support as patients journey to optimal health and wellness.

Rambling Road Family Wellness and Chiropractic specializes in chiropractic wellness care for all age groups and continued support as patients journey to optimal health and wellness.

Advocacy as a Diversion

I’ve received a number of responses to some things I’ve written or articles that I’ve shared about the blatant abuses that women endure, routinely, in the maternity care system. They go something like this:

“The doula should stand up for that mother!”

“Where’s the partner? He needs to advocate better for her!”

“She should have been better prepared… she should have taken more classes, read more, been taught how to advocate for herself.”

Really, I think the conversation about *who* sticks up for mom in the labor room is somewhat of a diversion from the point.

The fact is, it is often impossible to step in and make things stop in the moment – no matter who you are. Health care providers have an enormous and unjust amount of power and control. They have the ability (and usually protection) of doing whatever the hell they want.

The fact is, abuse happens to women who are extremely educated, who have been proactive, who have taken the right classes, who have chosen a provider they thought they could trust….¬†Every woman who walks through the hospital doors in labor is at risk for this kind of treatment.

Abuse is indiscriminate.


Suggesting that women and their support people learn how to advocate for themselves and for her sidesteps the real issue – and that is, women have rights that are violated






A lone doula can’t stop it. A woman’s partner can’t stop it. But collectively, women have the power to stop it on a grand scale if we start saying:

“We won’t take it anymore!”


If enough women start filing complaints and hiring lawyers…. this has the potential of balancing a concern about liability (and a physician’s motivation to force compliance), with a real and legitimate concern of being held liable for criminal sexual conduct committed against his patient.

We’ve got work to do. We can each advocate – for ourselves, for our partners, for our clients – the best that we can in the culture of dysfunction that we presently exist in.¬†But this is not the end of the story. This is not the solution. Women deserve better than the two options presently offered them of Submit or Resist.

I choose to resist – not just one doctor, not just one hospital, not just for one client. I resist on a system-wide level, and I commit to supporting all women in their rise to do the same.

This entry was posted in Activism, Doula, Hospital, Human Rights by Kathi Valeii. Bookmark the permalink.

4 thoughts on “Advocacy as a Diversion

  1. i was extremely educated. had a doula. had a very supportive AND educated husband. yet in the first moment we met our third baby a procedure was performed that i did not consent too. a procedure that caused me to hemorrhage (at least that is what they said after all was said and done but according to the OB i saw six weeks later, that information wasn’t in the charts). that caused the doctor to “have” to perform yet ANOTHER procedure AND administer drugs without my consent.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly – women shouldn’t need ‘protection’ from medical practitioners – these practitioners should follow the principle ‘first do no harm’ followed closely by or hand in hand with ‘do not doing anything without obtaining informed consent’.

    The medical fraternity is probably the only group who get away with sticking their fingers in women’s vaginas without their consent who are not being charged with sexual assault, and this is one of the more ‘minor’ violations women report during labour.

    I have the same reaction as Kathi when people say ‘I was lucky – we had a really lovely midwife, ob/gyn’ etc. While I am pleased when I hear someone say they had a good experience, you should not have to get ‘lucky’ to get this – all women are entitled to quality maternity care and evidence-based information about the risks/benefits of any proposed procedure – luck should not have anything to do with it, but that’s our current reality in most western countries (including Australia where I live).

  3. I also totally agree. I would love to see some legal battles where women succeed in a complaint of abuse/sexual abuse. I am sure it would start to even up the liability field.

  4. YES! Wow, this is so liberating to hear, this is exactly what happened to me. I’ve heard many responses from hospitals of “sorry but too bad” from complaints, and what do we do if we can’t afford a lawyer?

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