Making Midwives Legal

Childbirth, Medicine, and the Law. Second Edition

Raymond G. DeVries

Women, Gender, and Health



232 pp. 6x9

$29.95 paper 978-0-8142-0703-1
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“Everyone who cares about the question of regulating lay-midwifery should consider this author’s premise.” —The Journal of Nurse-Midwifery

“The author presents a balanced report on the historical aspects of midwifery and brings the subject up-to-date with in-depth discussions of that practice in three prototypical jurisdictions with different degrees of regulation of midwives.” —Journal of the American Medical Association

Making Midwives Legal explores what happens when midwifery and medicine are brought together by legal regulation. Combining historical data on the regulation of midwifery in Europe and the United States with a field study of the regulation of midwifery in Texas, Arizona, and California, Raymond G. DeVries uncovers the subtle ways legislation alters the profession—demonstrating both beneficial and detrimental consequences.

This new edition (the first edition was published in 1985 under the title Regulating Birth) includes an updated preface that situates the themes of the book in the current debate over health care and midwifery, and epilogue that examines the major issues in the 1990s and comments on developments that have taken place over the past decade, and an updated bibliography. By encouraging thoughtful policy changes in maternity care, Making Midwives Legal contributes to our understanding of the workings of health care systems, medical professions, and the relation between law and medicine.

Raymond G. DeVries is associate professor of sociology at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the coauthor of The Perinatal Health Crisis in California and the coeditor of Bioethics and Society and The Sociological Perspective.