America's Secret History Of Forced Sterilization

1112 Words Apr 12th, 2016 5 Pages
Most Americans associate hospitals to be the standard place where women can give birth. However, women did not always deliver in hospitals. Gynecology, the medical practice dealing with the female reproductive system, did not emerge until the early nineteenth century. Before doctors came along, women used to hire midwives to deliver babies in the comfort of their own homes. In this paper I will examine the social, political, and scientific implications of how giving birth has transitioned from being a midwife’s job into that of a doctor’s. Furthermore, I will attempt to show how these implications intersect together to make birth a feminist issue. To support my argument, I will be referencing Tina Cassidy’s “The Dawn of the Doctors,” Abby Epstein’s documentary film The Business of Being Born, and Eesha Pandit’s article “America’s secret history of forced sterilization: Remembering a disturbing and not-so-distant past.” I argue that the processes surrounding birth are intersectional feminist issues because they are often manipulated by male figures pursuing money and authority, which ultimately compromises women’s health and power of choice. To start off, I will discuss how gynecologists became prominent at the same time midwives’ popularity declined. When gynecology was founded, only midwives were hired to carry out births. In order to legitimize their field of study and gain clientele, doctors must somehow promote their practices as superior to those of midwives. For…
Open Document