Wednesday, March 31, 2010

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Equates Maternal Health with Abortion

Marie Smith has issued the following press release on behalf of the Parliamentary Network for Critical issues (PNCI)

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking after the meeting of foreign ministers at the G-8 in Canada, has presented all those who struggle to save unborn children from abortion and help their mothers with new reason to be alarmed. Clinton answered a question about making maternal health a priority of the G-8 and whether abortion, along with contraception, should be included in such efforts. Her answer does a grave disservice to pregnant women around the world whose very lives depend on access to life-affirming health care, especially for obstetric emergencies.

Clinton said:
“And if we’re talking about maternal health, you cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

PNCI Director Marie Smith reacted to the news,
“Secretary Clinton is revealing to the world that a pro-abortion ideology at the highest levels of the US government has hijacked the noble goal of reducing maternal deaths by re-defining maternal health to include access to abortion.”

“To state that abortion, the deliberate ending of a life, can be considered a legitimate and acceptable part of US global maternal health policy to save the lives of mothers is not only despicable but greatly hinders the reduction of maternal deaths. Governments which value the lives of unborn children must now view with suspicion US efforts to reduce maternal mortality to ensure that access to abortion is not included in the aid package.”

Abortion in developing countries is a dangerous procedure, regardless of legal status, leading to loss of blood and infection. Blood loss is the leading cause of maternal deaths.

According to Smith,
“Maternal health is about saving the lives of mothers. Abortion is a violent act which destroys the life of the child and often injures the mother. If as much attention was paid to ensuring that women have access to health care as there is to promoting access to abortion, the world would be well on its way to reducing maternal deaths. For example, Chile lowered its rate of maternal mortality by providing skilled birth attendants and prenatal care and education to women.”

Smith explains,
“Women need access to health care, not access to abortion. The proven ways to reduce maternal death include ensuring that every pregnant woman is assisted at childbirth by a skilled birth attendant, has access to clean blood for transfusions, antibiotics to fight infection, and emergency treatment of complications. Sadly, these proven mother and baby saving measures are lacking in many countries and will be secondary to the promotion of abortion given this new definition by Secretary Clinton.”

The statement by Clinton takes place at a critical time as the Obama administration is set to reveal details of its new Global Health Initiative (GHI), expected to cost $63 billion over the next six years. One of the four goals of the GHI is to reduce the mortality of mothers and children under five.

According to Smith,
“In every pregnancy there is at least two patients—mother and child—and more if multiples are swimming in the womb. To destroy the life of the child in the womb only adds more lost lives to the millions of children who die before age five from treatable and preventable causes.”

Clinton also went as far as to state that governments should not be involved in making decisions on such areas as abortion and contraception. She explained that while people in a country can have views on such issues that reflect their conscience, religion or other basis, the government cannot.

Smith reacts,
“Mrs. Clinton is forgetting that democratic governments are supposed to reflect the will of the people, not ignore it. Such hypocrisy attempts to invalidate legal and legislative acknowledgement of the dignity of the human being in laws against abortion while embracing the destruction of life as the Clinton-approved position of a government. Mrs. Clinton needs to be reminded of the words of Thomas Jefferson who said, "The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."