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Birth. 2012 Dec;39(4):281-5. doi: 10.1111/birt.12001. Epub 2012 Nov 5.

The politics of home birth in the United States.

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  • 1Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


Home birth has emerged as a political issue in several states in the United States, and this essay examines two aspects of home births politics. First, legislative battles over home birth policy do not conform to our typical models of partisan (i.e., Democratic vs Republican) politics, and attempts at advocacy cannot rely on classical strategies of alignment with a dominant party in a state. Second, the debates over home birth have increasingly begun to parallel current partisan battles in their emotion and intensity with the related gridlock and reluctance to consider compromises that are often necessary to achieve policy goals. This essay calls for a greater willingness for all sides to approach home birth less as an ideological mission and more as a health policy challenge to support consumers interested in an integrated system of care.

© 2012, Copyright the Authors Journal compilation © 2012, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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