The Informed Police: Using Women to Further Agendas

Speaking out against inflated c-section rates does not mean I’m pushing a natural birth agenda.

It means I’m disgusted that so many women are placed under the knife unnecessarily.

It means I believe women are intelligent enough to handle full information about their options.

It means I feel angry when I know that the rates that we perform major surgery for birth are at least 2-3 times higher than they should be, and that women and babies are placed needlessly at risk for agendas not centered around the best interests of pregnant people and their babies, and they’re certainly NOT centered around women’s autonomy.

I want women to have access to informed consent NOT because I think they’ll make “better” choices or “my” choices if they did, but because all humans deserve to know the risks and benefits of all of their options.

I am not the “informed” police.

I recently had someone tell me that a (non-related) choice that I made for my family was not well-informed. He was all for everyone making their own choices, as long as they were “informed” choices.

How patronizing.

A choice isn’t “informed” only when it falls through another’s filter and lands in their comfort zone.

I support all women and all birth choices.

I support women who birth at home, unassisted, and women who schedule their cesarean and everyone in between.

I don’t presume to know what is best for each individual woman for her birth or her family because I know that the risk / benefit analysis is subjective.

I don’t pretend to understand the complexities that surround each person’s choices because those complexities may or may not be similar to the ones that shape the choices that I make for myself an my family.

Which Agenda?

The only agenda I’m invested in pushing is the autonomy issue. The only cause I overtly or covertly champion is that of placing ownership of a pregnant woman’s body in a pregnant woman’s hands. That some women will choose surgical birth or medicated birth, homebirth or natural birth, is neither here nor there.

Women deserve to be treated as intelligent decision-makers. Practitioners and systems that routinely withhold information from women, and who broadly use coercive tactics to further their own interests deserve to be called out. I understand the hyper-sensitivity around birth camps, but lets not needlessly read between the lines.

Women deserve

Women deserve this basic, fundamental care because women matter. Let’s stop using women as agents to further specific agendas. Birth and women’s treatment in birth is a huge component in gender-based oppression. That this conversation gets so colored with why we advocate for basic, fundamental rights for women in this realm highlights women’s cultural enslavement to so many other’s agendas.

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  1. Veronica Perry says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Breath of fresh air!

    I am newly pregnant, 14 weeks, 1st child…

    Do you know of any good birthing classes that prepare you for natural hospital births?

    I am in SF Bay Area.

    Thank you!

    • Profile photo of Kathi Valeii says

      Hi Veronica,

      I’m not familiar with what is offered in your area. You could try googling some of the more popular methods to see what is available near you, and what seems like the best fit for you – Bradley, Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, Sacred Pregnancy. The Birth Anarchy Facebook page is very active. If you send Birth Anarchy a message on Facebook, we could post your question to the wall and see what has worked well for others. Best wishes to you in your pregnancy and upcoming birth!

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