The Constitutive Power of Law: The Criminalization, Mobilization, and Organization of Direct-Entry Midwifery

Bruce Hoffman, University of Washington

This study investigaes how law has shaped the organization of home birth midwifery in the contemporary United States. Law exerts an influence by the criminalization of midwifery in many states, and by midwives' consequent need to engage with state legislatures in pursuit of legal recognition through licensure. By research midwives' involvement with state legislatures over the last three decades and their simultaneous efforts to develop state and national organizations in support of their cause, I seek to explain how and why birth activists' encounter with law has transformed the character of home birth midwifery.

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Updated 05/20/2006