Women’s reproductive and medial rights has been a poignant topic as of late, a lot of it being due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade last year and continuous efforts to control women’s bodies and choices. It’s challenging to discuss this topic without bringing up the major role that patriarchy, male power, and politics plays into why there is so much current and historical attempts to control not only a woman’s choice to have children, but also their safety and healthy during childbirth that has the ability to lead to medical trauma.
On this episode of Get Naked with Dr. Kate, Dr. Kate Balestrieri talks with Allison Yarrow about the current state of women’s reproductive and otherwise medical health and safety that is at the mercy of power that men have over women’s choices.
Allison Yarrow is an award-winning journalist, speaker, and author of Birth Control: The Insidious Power of Men Over Motherhood (Hachette/Seal Press, July 2023).
She is also the author of 90s Bitch: Media, Culture, and the Failed Promise of Gender Equality (Harper Perennial, 2018.
She has written about health, politics, and gender for many publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vox, Insider, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek. She was a national magazine award finalist, a TED resident, an Aspen Ideas Festival fellow, and a grantee of the International Women’s Media Foundation. She produced the award-winning Vice News documentary “Misconception,” and gave a TED talk called “What to Expect Post-Expecting.”
Dr. Kate and Allison talk about how modern medicine should make pregnancy and childbirth safer for all. But in Allison’s book Birth Control, she reveals how women are controlled, traumatized, injured, and even killed because of the traditionalist practices of medical professionals and hospitals.
They talk about the dangerous misogyny that permeates pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood in our hospitals.
Kate and Allison also talk about how doctors were trained by midwives and then stole control of birth from them in the 19th century. Allison touches on specific birthing practices that are steamrolling women by a male-dominated medical establishment that has everyone convinced that birthing bodies are inherently flawed and that every pregnancy is a crisis that it alone can “solve.” Misogyny and racism, not scientific evidence and support, shape the overwhelming majority of America’s four million annual births.
Drawing on extensive reporting, expert interviews, an original survey of 1,300 mothers, and her own personal experiences, Yarrow documents in her book how modern maternal health care is insidiously, purposefully designed to take power from women to the detriment of their physical and mental health—not just during labor, but for years after. She shares this in her conversation with Dr. Kate and discusses better ways this can be handled.