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Birth centers were illegal in Illinois until a 2007 legislative measure allowed for the construction of ten new ones. In 1997, Angela Bowman wrote in the Reader about Illinois's resistance to allowing the centers—at that point they were legal in 34 other states. Why not here? Bowman also included a lengthy discussion about evolving standards of care for women in labor, an evolution with a Dark Ages-like 1950s that gave way to the natural-childbirth movement:
In 1957, Ladies' Home Journal published a brief letter from a Chicago nurse who called for an expose of "the tortures that go on in modern delivery rooms." She told of women being strapped to the delivery tables for hours at a stretch with their legs held apart (or worse, tied together), and of one doctor who cut and sutured patients without anesthetic because he'd almost lost one to an overdose in the past. The magazine received hundreds of letters in response. Some writers took issue with the charges but the majority, including a number of delivery nurses, confirmed them.