Women's Health Movement : A Controversial Topic Since The 1970's

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Women’s health has been a controversial topic since the 1970’s. Prior to the 1970’s and the emergent of women’s health movement, the medical establishment regarded women only as not male; this has since changed. The beginning of this change started for women when they realized they had a right to know about their own bodies. According to Edwards “The grassroots women 's health activism that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s was fostered by an equally diverse group of advocates, among them middle-class white women, middle- and working-class African Americans, lesbians and heterosexuals.” (Edwards) The 1970’s contained many changes for women in regards to the health movement. Women would see changes in childbirth, abortion,…show more content…
Early proponents of natural childbirth (Dick-Read, 1943; Karmal, 1959; Lamaze, 1970; Leboyer, 1975; and Bradley, 1978) developed programs to prepare women for childbirth that included relaxation, patterned breathing, hypnosis, and water immersion. Encouraged by the work of these early experts, women began to reclaim their autonomy in the birth process. “During the 1950s and 60s, women became more aware of the problems associated with heavy anesthesia during labor. Dense anesthesia had negative effects on women and their babies, and left women unable to play a role in their own care and that of their babies. Control of childbirth shifted from women (the birthing mother and her midwife), to the physician, (generally male at that time).” (Leggitt)
The conflict over homebirth proved to be one of the most bitter between the medical profession and the women 's movement. “While no state forbade homebirth, Doctors who participated in homebirths by offering backups in emergencies were threatened with loss of hospital privileges and even their medical licenses.” (Leggitt) The overall argument was that it was not safe for women to be at home in labor, however women felt that they should have the choice to give birth at home or in a hospital setting. According to Freeze “Official medical positions on home birth emerged in the
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