Maternal and neonatal mortality statistics foreground some possible causes of death at the expense of others. Political place (nation, state) and place of birth (hospital, home) are integral to these statistics; respect for women as persons is not. Using case examples from Malawi and the United States, I argue that the focus on place embedded in these indicators can legitimate coercive approaches to childbirth. Qualitative assessments in both cases reveal that respectful care, while not represented in current indicators, is critical for the health of women and newborns. Perinatal outcomes measures thus must be rethought to ensure ethical and safe maternity care. This rethinking will require new questions and new methods.
Wendland, C. (2018, March 1). Who counts? What counts? Place and the limits of perinatal mortality measures. AMA Journal of Ethics. American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1001/journalofethics.2018.20.3.pfor2-1803