By Tracy G. Cassels

This issue of Re:Birth has articles on the Midwifery Task Force in Ontario in the early 1980s, squatting in labour, episiotomies, rules at the time about fathers being present for c-sections, VBAC support, and birth on TV.

One of the things I noticed when reading this paper was that the task force that was to decide how midwifery was integrated in to the Ontario Health Care System was made up of not a single practicing midwife.  Of the four members, there was a former law professor, the coordinator of the Health Professions Legislation Review, a family doctor, and a professor of nursing.  How can this be?  Is this why midwifery in Canada, though legal, is more like the medical profession than many would like?  In the desire for recognition and standing, did midwives give something up by not being a part of the process which sought to bring them into the mainstream?  I wonder.  Yes, midwives were supposed to have a say, but when you don’t get a vote in the final count, what does that say about your role or how you’re perceived in the health care system?

For nations that don’t have midwifery worked into the fold, what is the best way to do that?  For those that already have it, do you think something was compromised?

Read the entire issue here.