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>the Controversy< Martha and a Man-Midwife Who Was Dr. Ben Page? Summing Up
  The Controversy
  The man-midwifery controversy began before Martha Ballard's birth and continued after her death. These are some opinions by medical professionals speaking for and against man-midwives.
Pro man-midwife

Anti man-midwife

"Men . . . being better versed in Anatomy, better acquainted with Physical Helps, and commonly endued with greater presence of Mind, have been always found readier or discreeter, to devise something new, and to give quicker Relief in Cases if difficult or preternatural births, than common midwives generally understand."

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John Maubray,
The Female Physician,
London, 1724.

" . . . there are many sufferers, both mothers and children; yea, infants have been born alive, with their brains working out of their heads, occasioned by the too common use of instruments . . . "

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Sarah Stone,
A Complete Practice of Midwifery,
London, 1737

"[A Midwife] ought to [a]void all reflections upon men practitioners, and when she finds herself difficulted, candidly have recourse to their assistance; . . . this confidence ought to be encouraged by the man, who, when called, instead of openly condemning her method of practice, (even though it should be erroneous) ought to make allowance for the weakness of the sex, and rectify what is amiss, without exposing her mistakes."

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William Smellie,
A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Midwifery, London, 1752.

"I know myself one of this last trade [pork butchers] who, after passing half his life in stuffing sausages, is turned an intrepid physician and man-midwife."

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Elizabeth Nihell,
A Treatise on the Art of Midwifery: Setting Forth Various Abuses Therein, Especially as to the Practice with Instruments. London, 1760.

"The forceps and fillet were contrived with a view to save the child, by helping along the head in extraordinary cases, when nature was exhausted, and to prevent, as much as possible the use of sharp instruments, when the mother's life was in danger."

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William Smellie,
A Collection of Cases and Observations in Midwifery, Vol. II, London, 1754

"Great mischief...has been done since man-midwifery [became] general, owing to the ignorance and impatience of those professors who erroneously imagined, their instruments must be used on all occasions . . . "

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John Blunt,
Man-Midwifery Dissected, London, 1793.

"To the existence of these mutual feelings, nothing contributes more than the attendance of physicians in cases of midwifery . . . . It is principally on this account that the practice of midwifery becomes desirable to physicians. It is this which ensures to them the permanency and security of all their other business."

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[Walter Channing,] a Physician, Remarks on the Employment of Females as Practitioners of Midwifery, Boston, 1820.

" . . . man-midwifery, with other 'indecencies,' is a great system of fashionable prostitution; a primary school of infamy as the fashionable hotel and parlor wine glass qualify candidates for the two-penny grog shop and the gutter."

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Samuel Gregory,
Man-Midwifery Exposed and Corrected, Boston, 1848.



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