Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Do DEMs believe in choice?

DEMs are constantly talking about choice, but do they really believe in a woman's right to make choices about birth?

Actually, they don't. That unpleasant fact is easily missed because of the multiple meanings of the word "choice". Choice can mean the right to choose among options ("the large menu offered a great deal of choice"), or choice can mean a specific option ("her choice was the steak"). DEMs do not believe in the right to choose among options; they offer only one option and you must choose that. Otherwise, you can just go somewhere else.

Partly this is because DEMs are simply incapable of providing many different childbirth options, such as medical pain relief, but partly it is because DEMs believe that there is one and only one way to give birth (with as few interventions as possible, preferably none) and you must go along with their view. You literally don't have any other choice.

This is not just a practical issue, but a philosophical issue as well. Although midwives never do C-sections, there is a large body of midwifery literature on maternal request C-sections. It is strikingly uniform in its conclusion, which is that a woman's choice for a C-section without medical indications cannot possibly be an informed choice and that it should not be allowed. There is an even larger body of midwifery literature with titles like "Why Do Women Go Along With This Stuff?" (Birth, 2006) implying that it is virtually imcomprehensible for women to make any choices beside the DEM approved choice for minimal intervention.

Despite their pious rhetoric about choice, DEMs do not facilitate choice; they offer women one and only one way to give birth, their way.

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