In the Absence of Medical Men: Midwife-Attended Home Birth, the Charter of Rights and Antique Alberta Legislation


  • Lynne Sears Williams
  • J. Chris Levy



This paper takes up the question of the legal status of a a midwife attending a home birth. The statutory framework for midwifery pursuant to the Medical Profession Act is analyzed, along with a historical overview of the midwifery provisions. The authors contend that the present restrictions on midwifery violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and they analyze the arguments available under ss. 1,2,6,7 and 15. The philosophic and social utility of midwifery is discussed in detail, and the authors provide a comparative study of midwifery in other western industrialized nations. The authors conclude that there is neither social nor medical justification for the restrictions on the practise of midwifery contained in the Act and they call for the statutory recognition of midwifery in Alberta.