Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 511–524 | Cite as

Vulnerability, Harm, and Compromised Ethics Revealed by the Experiences of Queer Birthing Women in Rural Healthcare

  • Sylvia BurrowEmail author
  • Lisa Goldberg
  • Jennifer Searle
  • Megan Aston
Original Research


Phenomenological interviews with queer women in rural Nova Scotia reveal significant forms of trauma experienced during labour and birth. Situating the accounts of participants within both phenomenological and intersectional analyses reveals harms enabled by structurally embedded heteronormative and homophobic healthcare practices and policies. Our account illustrates the breadth and depth of harm experienced and outlines how these violate core ethical principles and values in healthcare.


Queer women Reproductive autonomy Feminist phenomenology Birth Vulnerability Trauma-informed care 


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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cape Breton UniversitySydneyCanada
  2. 2.Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

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