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Reflections on Criminalising Obstetric Violence: A Feminist Perspective

Brennan, Karen (2019) 'Reflections on Criminalising Obstetric Violence: A Feminist Perspective.' In: Pickles, Camilla and Herring, Jonathan, (eds.) Childbirth, Vulnerability and Law. Routledge, 226 - 226. ISBN 9780429443718

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This chapter considers the role of the criminal law in responding to obstetric violence. The question that arises for consideration is whether the criminal law is an appropriate mechanism for holding medics to account when they cause harm to women at childbirth. In this regard a number of questions arise. First, stemming from the understanding of obstetric violence in a non-criminal context, what kinds of violence and harm are relevant for the purposes of criminalisation? Second, to what extent does our existing law capture ‘obstetric violence’? Third, should the law be expanded, and, in particular, should there be a specific offence of ‘obstetric violence’? Regarding the last question, the chapter explores the potential advantages and disadvantages of criminalisation, and considers the purpose of criminalising such conduct/harm. These questions are considered through the lens of vulnerability, which will particularly (but not exclusively) focus on the vulnerability of pregnant women/women in childbirth. This chapter employs a gendered framework whereby the unique position of women in childbirth is highlighted. The impact of wider gender norms, particularly with respect to expectations regarding motherhood, is a relevant factor in this analysis.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2020 18:32
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2021 02:00

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