Houston Midwives and Public Health Policies: How Their Fight Can Help Us All



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This study examines the themes of policy experiences and priorities from 14 midwives in the Houston metro area. As midwives increasingly take responsibility for improving reproductive health, they struggle to achieve their goals when met with policymakers that don’t share their vision. Using critical medical anthropology, I focus on how this discord affects women’s health and is damaging to society when representatives pass over bills that would grant midwives authority as primary birth care providers. The experiences shared with me through interviews are compared to the literature of midwifery associations, collaborative organizations active in maternal and child health, and Texas midwifery’s biggest competitor, the Texas Medical Association, to contextualize the struggle of midwifery advocacy within a holistic narrative. This study finds that Houston area midwives are well-versed in the policy objectives in Texas legislature, but are less active in the strategic planning of political objectives, especially as they expand into the arena of public and global health.



midwife, birth, public health, public policy, birth center, gender, equity, reform, human rights