Outlaw Midwifery

SQUAT: An Anarchist Birth Journal put out its first issue this past June...


Fifth Estate # 384, Spring, 2011

And two months later, its first annual birth conference, “SQUAT Camp,” which took place in Washington state from August 10-13th. Usually, midwifery/birthwork conferences are outrageously inaccessible, from their location (high-end hotels) to the cost (upwards of $100 per day). SQUAT organized a conference in the woods, camping style, for $30 for the four-day event (plus meals included). Workshops were a little different than what you’d usually find at a mainstream birth conference, too: “Prison as a Form of Violence Against Women,” “She’s, He’s, and They’s Giving Birth,” “Abortion Doulas and the History of Abortion in Midwifery,” and “Racism and Classism in the Midwifery Movement” were just a few of the fifteen different workshops organized.

SQUAT Camp was great fun, and welcomed people with a variety of backgrounds and ties to birthwork, from midwives to doulas, sex activists to childbirth educators, kids and parents. Overall, the conference was able to bring together a large number of radical birthworkers and families to share experiences and skills, and to have critical conversations about what work can be done to help support each other as we engage with the beauty of birth and, simultaneously, continue addressing the politics surrounding birth.

For four days, the woods were filled with the sounds of impassioned conversations about the intersections of birth, capitalism, gender, race, alternative medicine, sustainability, and a variety of other topics. Organizers hope to make SQUAT Camp #2 even better and invite everyone to join them again next summer.

FE editors’ note: Since this summer’s SQUAT Camp, two more issues of their magazine have been produced with information and perspectives on a variety of issues related to pregnancy, birth, and reproductive politics.

You can contact SQUAT at: Squattingbirth – AT – gmail – DOT – com