Posts tagged “speech! speech!”
December 13, 2011
The 2011 Right Livelihood AwardsSpeech by Ina May Gaskin5 December 2011
It is a great honor to have been chosen as the first midwife to receive the Right Livelihood Award. In accepting this award, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to my fellow midwives throughout the world. Most of us necessarily share an awareness of powerful forces that now threaten the continued existence of the profession of midwifery in many parts of the world. Rates of cesarean section are rising rapidly in most countries, far beyond the upper limits recommended by the World Health Organization. As cesarean rates increase, rates of maternal death and serious injury rise as well, and women’s fears of birth increase. At the same time, timehonored knowledge and skills begin to vanish. I have visited private hospitals in Brazil where the cesarean rate was 95%, because women (and their doctors) had become so afraid of the normal process of birth that the cesarean became the default.When surgical and technological interventions in birth become the norm rather than the exception, the profession of midwifery loses its basis for existence, and obstetrics itself no longer encompasses the skills and knowledge that were once considered essential competencies of the profession.