Homebirth, Midwives, and the State: A Libertarian Look

Libertarian Papers 8:247-266 (2016)
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This study steps beyond the traditional arguments of feminism and examines homebirth from a libertarian perspective. It addresses the debate over homebirth and midwifery, which includes the use of direct-entry midwives as well as the philosophical implications of individual autonomy expressed through consumer choice. Furthermore, this paper demonstrates that the medical establishment gains economic and political control primarily through medical licensing, and uses the state to undermine personal freedom as it advances a government-enforced monopoly on birth. At the same time, empirical studies have established a substantial record of high safety and low medical complication rates for homebirth as compared to hospital births. Ultimately, the state’s restriction on medical choices is incompatible with the nonaggression principle and voluntarism, and therefore, with libertarianism.
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First archival date: 2016-12-06
Latest version: 1 (2017-10-30)
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