Conflict and Reproductive Health in Urban Chiapas: Disappearing the Partera Empίrica

Jenna Murray de Lopez


This article looks at how the unresolved internal armed conflict in Chiapas intersects with existing structural violence manifest in the everyday forms of harassment, abuse, and violence, all of them shaping the fabric of women’s existence. This includes both the way they are treated by professionals in the healthcare system and unintended consequences of health policy and initiatives to reduce maternal mortality. I argue it is useful to examine these two factors jointly in order to identify a relationship between armed conflict in rural areas and its indirect costs on the nearby urban environment. I will focus on one main point of discussion: the way a health-policy emphasis on decreasing maternal mortality (as an indirect consequence of the armed conflict) is changing how and where urban women give birth, effectively disappearing the role of the urban ‘partera empírica’.


Chiapas; obstetric violence; maternal mortality; midwife; health policy

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Anthropology Matters Journal ISSN: 17586453 Publisher: Anthropology Matters url: