Sunday 18 September 2011

Pro-abortion ideology is costing lives of women in developing countries

Fiorella Nash, one of SPUC's political researchers, has delivered a powerful and deeply personal address to this weekend's SPUC 2011 annual national conference, entitled "Maternal mortality and abortion in developing countries: the need for a pro-life response". Below are some key extracts of Fiorella's excellent speech:
"I am ashamed to admit that I did not entirely appreciate how dangerous childbirth can be for both women and their babies until I became a mother myself. My eldest son, who is now five years old, would not be alive today if it were not for a skilled obstetrics team who delivered him by emergency caesarean, following a lengthy obstructed labour. My youngest child would not be alive today if it were not for skilled midwives and paediatricians who resuscitated him when he stopped breathing, and detected and treated his chest infection in a well-equipped Special Care Baby Unit, manned 24 hours a day by dedicated nurses. And I am aware that I would not be alive today to raise my children if I had not had access to excellent hospital facilities, nurses, midwives and doctors who were able to save my life when I developed complications during two out of three labours.

How many women around the world are dying in childbirth every year? Accurate numbers are very difficult to calculate for a number of reasons. So we need to be aware that we are looking at estimates and these estimates vary from between 350,000 and 600,000 maternal deaths a year, 99% of which are believed to occur in developing countries. In Britain, the maternal mortality rate is 8.3 per 100,000 live births – and incidentally, Britain does not have the lowest maternal mortality rate by any means. Pro-life Ireland and Malta have a rather better record.

The two biggest causes of maternal death (and this is very well established) are haemorrhage and sepsis.

In many cultures around the world, the mother is the lynchpin of the family and if she goes, the entire family is shattered. We need always to be aware of the human face of this tragedy.

Maternal mortality has been rightly described as 'an international disgrace' but almost as grave a disgrace is the determination by pro-abortion groups to hijack the issue in order to promote abortion around the world. The abortion lobby has a long history of exploiting the suffering of women whilst claiming to act in their best interests. Abortion has nothing to do with saving women's lives. As far back as 1992, a group of Ireland's top obstetricians and gynaecologists signed a letter in which they wrote: "We affirm that there are no medical circumstances justifying direct abortion, that is, no circumstances in which the life of a mother may only be saved by directly terminating the life of her unborn child.”

Countries such as Ireland and Malta where abortion is banned have some of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. Any medical procedure which involves the ending of one or both human lives involved is by definition unsafe and it is unsafe whether it occurs in Nairobi or New York. The abortion lobby has been very successful in creating a false association between ‘safe’ and ‘legal’ abortion

South Africa, which has had abortion on demand for years, has witnessed a fourfold increase in maternal mortality since a UK-funded abortion organisation set up clinics around that country. As SPUC’s Peter Smith commented: "It is farcical for the government to talk about safe abortions in situations without sterile surgical facilities, safe blood transfusion or emergency back-up. Running abortion clinics in slums, shanty towns and the bush will harm or kill women as well as killing babies."

The western obsession with promoting its own vision of sexuality onto the rest of the world is not only costing the lives of the unborn; it is costing the lives of women through neglect.

Childbirth is rendered safe by a range of entirely ethical solutions. No one has a problem with making available to women such life-saving interventions as: antenatal monitoring, trained midwives, caesarean section, blood transfusion (and with it the ability to store blood safely), good sanitation and antibiotics. There is no reason why there should be this massive ideological battle going on over the bodies of dead women and babies.

Western governments spend millions providing contraception to developing countries when one in eight people around the world, the overwhelming majority in developing countries, have no access to safe drinking water.

When the state gets involved in dictating family size, it is difficult to see how such a policy will not be coercive on some level. The population controllers are saying ‘get yourself sterilised freely or the state may one day have to force you.’

In doing this, we can reach out to those who support our principles but have never considered becoming involved in our work.

As pro-life campaigners, we know that maternal mortality is a tragedy and that abortion is not the answer, but I believe that we are under an obligation to turn that knowledge into action. There is a very real need for a campaign to lobby for good maternity care for women in developing countries."
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