With the increasing demand for midwives, activists are lobbying to loosen restrictions that deny legal access to homebirth options. In Pushing for Midwives, Christa Craven presents a nuanced history of women’s reproductive rights activism in the U.S. She also provides an examination of contemporary organizing strategies for reproductive rights in an era increasingly driven by “consumer rights.”
An historical and ethnographic case study of grassroots organizing, Pushing for Midwives is an in-depth look at the strategies, successes, and challenges facing midwifery activists in Virginia. Craven examines how decades-old race and class prejudices against midwives continue to impact opposition to—as well as divisions within—women’s contemporary legislative efforts for midwives. By placing the midwifery struggle within a broader reproductive rights context, Pushing for Midwives encourages activists to reconsider how certain political strategies have the potential to divide women. This reflection is crucial in the wake of neoliberal political-economic shifts that have prioritized the rights of consumers over those of citizens—particularly if activists hope to maintain their commitment to expanding reproductive rights for all women.