UN: discussion about maternal health

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While world leaders are meeting at the United Nations this week to discuss progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Chris Smith, member of the American Congress, explains in the Washington Post that a strong reduction in infant and maternal mortality remains very uncertain if the Obama administration “either directly or covertly” integrates abortion into the final document.

He recalls that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “has said publicly that she believes access to abortion is part of maternal and reproductive health, thinking that runs contrary to the understanding of the more than 125 UN member states that prohibit or otherwise restrict abortion in their sovereign laws and constitutions.” For Chris Smith, reducing maternal and infant mortality are the two most realisable objectives today, but they would be compromised if the UN summit is influenced by the demands of pro-abortion activists.

To achieve Millennium Development Goal No. 4, which is to reduce infant mortality rates by two thirds from 1990 figures, Chris Smith explains that numerous cost-effective actions must be expanded, notably “treatment and prevention of disease, as well as greater access to adequate food and nutrition, clean water, childhood vaccinations, oral rehydration packets, antibiotics, and drugs to inhibit mother-to-child HIV transmission”. He adds that there is an immediate need for care of unborn children to optimise their health before and after birth, good health starting in the womb. Chris Smith recalls that abortion is by definition the death of a child and as such compromises Goal No. 4. In addition, it is heavy in negative consequences for the health of women, affecting them emotionally and psychologically.

Goal No. 5, the reduction in maternal mortality by 75% from 1990 figures, can be achieved by “skilled attendance at birth, treatment to stop hemorrhages, access to safe blood, emergency obstetric care, antibiotics, repair of fistulas, adequate nutrition, and pre- and post-natal care”.

Chris Smith quotes a study* that appeared in April 2010 in the British journal The Lancet and was financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which reports a global decline of 35% in maternal mortality, which went from 526 300 in 1980 to 342 900 in 2008. These figures confirm those of the World Health Organisation report entitled “Trends in maternal mortality” made public on 15 September 2010. Chris Smith stresses that “contrary to prevailing myths, the study underscored that many nations that have laws prohibiting abortion also have some of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world – Ireland, Chile and Poland among them”. LifeNews adds The Lancet researchers were surprised to discover that three of the richest countries of the world had rising figures of maternal mortality: the United States, Canada and Norway, which have liberal laws on abortion.

* The Lancet, “Maternal mortality for 181 countries, 1980—2008: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 5”, Margaret C Hogan MSc, Kyle J Foreman AB, Mohsen Naghavi MD, Stephanie Y Ahn BA, Mengru Wang BA, Susanna M Makela BS, Prof Alan D Lopez PhD, Prof Rafael Lozano MD, Prof Christopher JL Murray MD

Washington Post (Chris Smith) 19/09/10 – Medical News Today 21/09/10 – Lifenews (Steven Ertelt) 15/09/10 – Nouvelobs.com 15/09/10

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