Obstetric violence is institutional, gender-based violence, suffered by pregnant women at the hands of healthcare personnel. In a 2007 law, Venezuela said it includes dehumanised treatment, abuse of medication, and “the appropriation of the body and reproductive processes of women by health personnel… bringing with it loss of autonomy and the ability to decide freely about their bodies and sexuality.” In 2014, the World Health Organisation described disrespectful and abusive care during childbirth – including physical and verbal abuse, refusals of care and medication, and coercive or unconsented medical procedures – as human rights violations.
We may be living in a feminist-leaning era – with some leaders like Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau proudly calling themselves feminists. But society in the US, as in many parts of the world, has not yet reached a tipping point. Feminism is still seen as a protest, a dividing line in the political landscape – or a sound bite. Many boys and men are reluctant to define themselves as feminists, and even fewer are willing to put a cog in the patriarchal machine.