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Law and Race

Gender and law

2021

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

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Medical Violence, Obstetric Racism, And The Limits Of Informed Consent For Black Women, Colleen Campbell Jan 2021

Medical Violence, Obstetric Racism, And The Limits Of Informed Consent For Black Women, Colleen Campbell

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

This Essay critically examines how medicine actively engages in the reproductive subordination of Black women. In obstetrics, particularly, Black women must contend with both gender and race subordination. Early American gynecology treated Black women as expendable clinical material for its institutional needs. This medical violence was animated by biological racism and the legal and economic exigencies of the antebellum era. Medical racism continues to animate Black women’s navigation of and their dehumanization within obstetrics. Today, the racial disparities in cesarean sections illustrate that Black women are simultaneously overmedicalized and medically neglected—an extension of historical medical practices rooted in ...