Obstetric Violence as an Infringement of Basic Ethical Principles.

Obstetric violence is still far too invisible; the word “violence” generates rejection. Obstetric violence is complex to define and typify, as it is a subjective experience. It has been widely analysed from legal, sociological, and clinical perspectives, but not equally so from the bioethical point of view.  This study does exactly that – it explores the bioethics of violence in maternity care.

“People associate violence to something brutal; I have seen people who…in an underhanded way exert a violence which is not like the visible one, and this is the most dangerous thing in the world.”

The study concludes that obstetric violence infringes on the main bioethical principles – non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy, justice, vulnerability, dignity, and integrity.  Ss long as women have such negative experiences during pregnancy and childbirth and beyond whether it is called violence or not, what matters from an ethical perspective is that obstetric care needs humanizing.

Read more of the study – Obstetric Violence as an Infringement on Basic Bioethical Principles. Reflections Inspired by Focus Groups with Midwives