Midwives matter

Many voices urge nonjudgmental safe abortion care as part of midwifery

Monday, May 4, 2015

This year, on International Day of the Midwife, we salute midwives and their commitment to provide full spectrum care for women—throughout their reproductive lives. The International Confederation of Midwives supports the position that midwives, where permitted, should be trained and equipped to provide safe abortion care to women. And so many midwives agree.

Last spring, Ipas sent a delegation of more than 45 midwives to 30th International Triennial Congress in Prague—six of whom were in the beginning of their careers. Several of these young midwifery students shared their experiences and the reasons why they believe midwives must provide nonjudgmental reproductive health care to women in a series of short videos. Ifeoma Akaniro, a midwifery student in Nigeria, says her own unsafe abortion led her to the care of a midwife—one who she says not only saved her life but did it without judgment.

Nicole Meade, a midwife from New York, echoed the call for compassionate care, telling us at ICM, “We need to adopt a policy of non-judgment.”

Molly Dutton-Kenny, a midwife in the United States, says her experience with abortion and midwifery, both while living abroad and in the United States, “galvanized her commitment to provide full-spectrum reproductive health care” as a midwife.

Midwives save women’s lives all around the world, every day.

Midwives provide essential reproductive health care to women in their communities — they outnumber physicians, particularly in rural areas. Midwives really are the front line in keeping women healthy — through accessible pre- and postnatal care and through comprehensive reproductive health care, including safe abortion.

Makgoale Magwentshu, a midwife and former Ipas South Africa staff person who is now with WomanCare Global, echoes this sentiment, “Midwives are well positioned because they are the first to come in contact with women.”

Midwives really make a difference, in protecting women’s health, in providing compassionate care, and in upholding women’s rights.

“All women have the right to reproductive services, like all people, said Jane Zgambo, a midwife from Malawi, at ICM.