Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of law and medicine

Medical Subject Headings

Cesarean Section; Female; Humans; Midwifery; Obstetrics; Patient Preference; Pregnancy; Pregnant Women; Women's Rights

ISSN

1320-159X

Volume

25

Issue

2

First Page

448

Last Page

464

PubMed ID

29978647

School

School of Arts and Humanities

RAS ID

26145

Comments

Originally published as: Larsen, A. C. (2018). Women's rights in the health care system: Caesarean delivery on maternal request. Journal of Law & Medicine. 25(2). 448-464.

Abstract

This article explores a systems-theoretical question on the resonance capacity of medicine and law that has enabled a recent obstetric change. Insights from autopoietic theory guide my analysis of these subsystems' preconditions or self-referencing processes supporting obstetrics to take up pregnant women's requests for caesarean sections for social reasons. Previously, obstetricians performed caesarean sections on medical grounds only. That change became possible: it resonated with obstetrics, despite limitations imposed on obstetrics and law by these subsystems' unique codes and programs, and in light of law's self-determining individual. This article argues that although the change represents a victory for women's human rights in challenging paternalistic medical decision-making, paradoxically it extended medical control over childbirth by further displacing midwifery. However, obstetricians, midwives and pregnant women have been less empowered by the change. The article interprets how structural limitations or preconditions affect the capacity of communications to resonate and contribute to society's evolution.

Available for download on Thursday, March 07, 2019

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