Obstetricians and Violence Against Women

American Journal of Bioethics 11 (12):51-56 (2011)
I argue that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), as an organization and through its individual members, can and should be a far greater ally in the prevention of violence against women. Specifically, I argue that we need to pay attention to obstetrical practices that inadvertently contribute to the problem of violence against women. While intimate partner violence is a complex phenomenon, I focus on the coercive control of women and adherence to oppressive gender norms. Using physician response to alcohol use during pregnancy and court-ordered medical treatment as examples, I show how some obstetrical practices mirror the attitudes of abusive men insofar as they try to coercively control women's behavior through manipulation and violence. To be greater allies in the prevention of violence against women, obstetricians should stop participating in practices that inadvertently perpetuate violence against women.
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DOI 10.1080/15265161.2011.623813
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