Letter: `Racist' birth plans

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services supports women of all races and cultures in getting the birth care they need. In 30 years we have never been asked for a "white only" birth (letter, 15 July). But recently we were asked to help a white woman who had been sexually abused throughout her childhood by a black man.

Her fears and reasons were recorded in her notes but she was further traumatised by being delivered by a black male obstetrician.

Unfortunately her complaint was interpreted as racist by the hospital, but it was in fact similar to that of another client avoiding a red-haired midwife because she had been abused in childhood by her red-headed mother. We have many similar cases.

When women state birth preferences they usually have good reason. If they want to avoid someone who is male, female, white, black, wearing spectacles or pigeon toed, don't assume it's prejudice.