We at European Life Network (ELN) have noted with great sadness the passing of our friend and colleague Dr. Robert (Rob) Walley, founder of MaterCare International, a pro-life international organization of Catholic health professionals dedicated to the care of mothers and babies. Rob died of cancer on June 22 at ST JOHN’S, Newfoundland he was 81.
Rob is survived by his wife Susan, three daughters, four sons and 15 grandchildren, according to his online obituary.
“Robert has an extraordinary life as an OB/GYN, a Master of International Public Health (Harvard), Emeritus Professor at Memorial University. Instrumental to the start of the Family Life Bureau of Newfoundland, a member of the Right to Life association, appointed by Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Council for Health and a member of the Order of the Knights of Malta. Recipient of the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice (The Cross of Honour). He leaves a great legacy of bringing thousands of children into the world as well as creating MaterCare International, which provides safe motherhood for women in developing countries.”
MaterCare International is a group of Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists, midwives and general practitioners whose mission is “to improve the lives and health of mothers and babies, both born and unborn” and to reduce abortion worldwide and “maternal and perinatal mortality, morbidity in developing countries” through service, training, research, and advocacy, its website states.
It has projects in Nigeria, Ghana, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Rwanda, and an ongoing project in Kenya, where it built and maintains a hospital for high-risk mothers.
Among the many contacts we had with Rob over the years, ELN’s Patrick Buckley worked jointly with Dr Walley, Fr Richard Taylor and Dr. Bogdan Chazan, in the development of a charter of rights for mothers which it is hoped will someday become standard practice.
A CHARTER OF RIGHTS OF MOTHERS
Motherhood should be perceived as a gift, there is no right to have a baby.
Mothers to be, have the right to be prepared for family life, receiving ethical education in sexuality that respects moral, social, cultural and religious values and, should receive accurate and understandable information about the menstrual cycle, ovulation and fertility signs.
Every mother has a right to respect for her dignity, her religious, moral, social, and cultural values, and the right to be free from every form of discrimination or coercion, before, during and after childbirth.
In the case of infertility, infertile couples have the right to receive ethical medical care and treatment comprising responsible and reliable guidance about fertility awareness methods and medical help that respects both human dignity and the life of every unborn child
Every mother must have access to comprehensive prenatal care including effective health education in preparation for safe delivery and social support adequate to family needs. She should be cared for when indigent, deserted or suffering from illness.
Every mother has the right to refuse prenatal diagnosis and coercion or pressure to terminate her pregnancy.
Mothers have the right to have access to a safe, clean, adequately equipped, family centred delivery rooms and safe transportation facilities when necessary.
Every mother must have access to skilled medical care during delivery and have access to specialist’ care when complications occurs.
Mothers have the right to receive proper medical care and support in hospital and at home during postpartum period, including childcare, breastfeeding advice and morally acceptable natural family planning information and advice.
Mothers have the right to rest after delivery for adequate time receiving proper family help and social support.
Mothers together with husbands have the right to educate their children and to a reasonable share of the husband’s income for maintenance and education of the children, according to their needs and number.
In the absence of sufficient family resources the mother should receive necessary assistance from the community or the state.
Mothers living in developing countries have the right to receive from higher – income countries any forms of help (goods, services, facilities) needed to protect their health and lives.
Every mother has the right to retain her fertility, and to be free of coercion and not be subjected to medical or surgical sterilization or abortion.
Every mother and every child has a right to survival so as not to die during pregnancy and childbirth as a consequence of abortion or lack of essential obstetrical care.
Patrick Buckley in conjunction with the Holy See, the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children and Campaign Life Coalition Canada were also deeply honoured to have Dr. Walley speak as one of our expert panelists during a recent United Nations event In New York on best practices in maternal healthcare.
We at ELN express our deepest sympathies to Robert’s Wife Susan and his family
May he rest in peace