Beyond autonomy: care ethics for midwifery and the humanization of birth

NEWNHAM, Elizabeth and KIRKHAM, Mavis (2019). Beyond autonomy: care ethics for midwifery and the humanization of birth. Nursing Ethics, 096973301881911.

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The bioethical principle of respect for a person’s bodily autonomy is central to biomedical and healthcare ethics. In this article, we argue that this concept of autonomy is often annulled in the maternity field, due to the maternal two-in-one body (and the obstetric focus on the foetus over the woman) and the history of medical paternalism in Western medicine and obstetrics. The principle of respect for autonomy has therefore become largely rhetorical, yet can hide all manner of unethical practice. We propose that large institutions that prioritize a midwife–institution relationship over a midwife–woman relationship are in themselves unethical and inimical to the midwifery philosophy of care. We suggest that a focus on care ethics has the potential to remedy these problems, by making power relationships visible and by prioritizing the relationship above abstract ethical principles.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: ** From Crossref via Jisc Publications Router **Journal IDs: pissn 0969-7330; eissn 1477-0989 **History: published 13-01-2019
Uncontrolled Keywords: Issues, ethics and legal aspects
Identification Number:
Page Range: 096973301881911
SWORD Depositor: Margaret Boot
Depositing User: Margaret Boot
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2019 15:48
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 06:49

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