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Libertarianism and the Birthing Process

I am writing a paper on libertarianism and the birthing process to present at a conference.

For anyone who has given birth (or is the spouse of someone who gave
birth), it is typically a bad experience if done in the hospital (I am aware of the good outcomes). However, if we took libertarian principles at both the micro and macro levels, the entire process can change to benefit everyone.

Do you have any ideas of how we can apply libertarianism to the birthing process?

Do you know of any sources on this subject?

Thanks for your thoughts.



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I've given birth 4 times

At 2 different hospitals. All were by c-section due to my oldest being 8.5lbs vs my 4'10.5" frame. My doctor told me that once you had a c/s it was necessary to keep having them and I didn't challenge him on that. I agree with your comment below that you lose your rights, in a sense. I didn't know I was libertarian until after I had my youngest but even when I had my first I made choices that were very much in line with libertarian beliefs such as not immunizing, child led weaning (after breastfeeding), etc.

Every time I had to fight tooth and nail for them to not be immunized. For my 2 that were early and had to stay in the NICU, I had to fight tooth and nail for the dr to ALLOW me to breastfeed them instead of giving them"milk specially formulated for preemies."I I'm not aware of any sources on this subject, but your cause is a noble one and I wish you luck.

Ron Paul convert from the Heart of Dixie

I have a theory that the dehumanization of birth

happened mostly as a result of scopolamine use. The drug allowed doctors and nurses to behave without regard for their patients' dignity because they either wouldn't remember it or the nurses could claim they were remembering it wrong (as happened to my mom when she remembered that they made her sit on her baby's head after it crowned). Most women who had scopolamine births believe they were asleep the whole time(not true), so will attribute bad memories to dreams and not know what to do with the trauma.

The drug isn't just about making people forget, it also makes them very suggestible. So the principle that it's up to them not to be so enamored with authority that they can't say no doesn't apply.

Horrors were normalized with no witnesses. Remember, husbands were sent to pace in the waiting rooms. Such an image of a more innocent time? No! How families were prevented from speaking up for those under the influence of that drug. They even put more padding on the cuffs to keep husbands from noticing bruising when women were strapped to beds.

In more modern times, I think we're still suffering the effects of the lack of choice being normalized. Families are demanding more dignity these days, but they simply don't have the ability to vote with their feet because of the costs.

I've had two births at hospital-attached birthing centers and one at home.

Defend Liberty!

JustLiberty4US's picture

You hit the nail on the head,

You hit the nail on the head, RonPualer. Yes, the birthing process is without a doubt dehumanizing. I want that to change. I've been studying this issue for over ten years, and there has been zero progress; in fact things have gotten worse (i.e. C-sections up 300% since 1980).

So, my question is how can a libertarian philosophy and free-market principles change the way we do birth? Is agorism the only solution?

The thing for now

is mainly education. We are in a situation where "no"'s are legally supposed to be respected. If some of the things that happened to my mom, like the nurses not bringing her her baby for 24 hours, despite her pleas, happened in a hospital today, that would make the local paper. I can't speak for the ten-year time frame, but things are much, much better than they used to be dignity-wise. It's just that expectations that it will be an undignified process are so ingrained, women are just now demanding better.

They are getting better in so many areas. The babies are put directly on the mother's chest most of the time now. That's such a reversal from times past when they treated the mother as a potential danger to her baby.

I do think the "no"'s are becoming much more respected, but women don't know when to use them.

For example, that pitocin drip is where control gets taken away from a woman. If she doesn't know what they're doing, cranking it up constantly and needlessly, to make the birth go faster, and that that's the source of so many complications and an excess of pain, she will simply agree. Women also need to know they should refuse any interventions involving lack of progress if the baby is not in distress. They simply don't know that and trust the business people who are trying to get a new client in that bed sooner. It's like they're going to a car dealership and taking their word for everything, not that they're not free to say "no".

Defend Liberty!

I'm sorry but I'm having trouble following what you mean?

You want to apply a political philosophy to a biological function? Or do you mean what you have to go through in these hospitals ?

Democracy is like two wolves and a sheep deciding whats for dinner- Benjamin Franklin

JustLiberty4US's picture

Thanks for asking.

Thanks for asking. I want to apply a political philosophy to what you go through at the hospital. For example, once you enter the hospital, it is almost as if you have no rights. Over the years, I've heard so many birthing horror stories about how the woman became a powerless object.

There is also the case of independent mid-wives (in the state of PA, anyway) who are being fought by the medical establishment so that they can't practice here.

Currently, I wanted to focus on the hospitals right now. I don't have many ideas on how to make the process more libertarian.