Wednesday 10 November 2010

Holy See at the UN stands up for mothers and their children

Peter Smith who, along with Pat Buckley represents SPUC at the United Nations (UN), has sent me the following encouraging report from New York:
"On the morning of 9 November, at the plenary meeting of the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly, Fr Philip Bene, representing the Holy See, gave the following Explanation of Position on the resolution to 'Support efforts to end obstetric fistula':
'On the adoption of this resolution, my delegation affirms its support of maternal and emergency obstetric care, skilled attendants at birth, and prenatal and postnatal care. Respecting the dignity of women is key to overcoming the problem of obstetric fistula and this entails addressing poverty and providing health care for them.

However, terms like “sexual and reproductive health”, which appear in the resolution, when misconstrued as constituting a right to abortion, do not help women. For this reason, my delegation once again reaffirms the reservations it has made in reference to this and other similar terms, that they do not create any abortion rights, and cannot be interpreted to constitute support, endorsement, promotion or funding of abortion.

Finally, attempts to prevent obstetric fistula by pushing to developing countries reproductive health commodities does nothing for the overall wellbeing of women, for they treat women not as persons who must be respected and cared for but as objects of agendas of aid giving countries. Instead, what is needed is an approach which takes into account the overall wellbeing of women which necessarily includes sufficient health care for them.'
This medical condition was eradicated in developed countries some 80 years ago. When women have obstructed labour, without proper medical care, their bodies can be damaged and they are then incontinent. These poor women, who smell as a result of the condition, are then treated as social outcasts. Obstetric fistula is easily reparable with surgery.

This excellent "explanation of position" from the Holy See is just the start of our hopes for Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Holy See's new Nuncio to UN headquarters in New York. If you would like to encourage Archbishop Chullikatt for the excellent statement on this subject, please e-mail him at "
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