In March 2004, Canadian obstetrician Mary Hannah published a controversial article about elective caesarean sections in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Hannah argues that “a growing number of women are requesting delivery by elective caesarean section without an accepted ‘medical indication’” and suggests that physicians should support women’s requests (2004: 813- 814). Despite a paucity of research surrounding elective caesarean sections, many print media journalists and authors throughout Canada accept Hannah’s claim, and allege that “too posh to push” women are responsible for high rates of caesarean sections and birthing interventions. I situate media representations of elective caesarean sections in the context of Canada’s evolving maternity system, and explore how media reporters manage birthing “uncertainties” through the construction of “truths” about women’s birthing choices. Media authors’ insistence on blaming mothers in media representations of elective caesarean sections obscures the broader cultural, social and economic contexts in which women give birth.
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Thesis advisor: Patton, Cindy
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