Title

Just Birth: Childbirth Advocacy and the Rhetoric of Feminist Health Justice

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Publication Title

Women’s Studies in Communication

Abstract

I examine writing produced in an online community of childbirth advocacy during a 2010 National Institutes of Health Conference convened to develop a consensus resolution on best practices regarding vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). Through an analysis of blog posts and comment threads written in response to the conference proceedings, I find that participants in the feminist counterpublic of birth advocacy utilize three primary strategies: they redefine VBAC as “just birth” rather than a medical “procedure;” they recontextualize the biomedical use of “risk” to include other factors outside of the immediate context of the hospital; and they reframe VBAC as a right rather than a preference. Together, these strategies work together to demonstrate the incommensurability of “shared doctor–patient decision making” within the current biomedical model of care. This move, toward a rights-based framework within a more highly contextualized systemic critique of health care, positions VBAC to be an issue that could link birth advocacy to a larger feminist health justice movement.

Department

English

Volume Number

43

Issue Number

2

First Page

131

Last Page

156

DOI

doi.org/10.1080/07491409.2020.1737289

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