Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MaterCare Conference: The Dignity of Mothers and Obstetricians: Who in the World Cares

The 8th MaterCare conference which was held in Rome last week was exceptional. It stretched over a number of days and included very significant presentations on all aspects of the lives of mothers and their children and the essential care given by obstetricians together with issues of conscience.  It will take some time to unpack some of the jewels of wisdom shared at the conference but we will attempt to do so gradually in future BLOG postings. 
The conference began with a reflection on motherhood and what were termed the four C's essential for obstetrical best practice.
FIRSTLY, the Catholic Obstetrician must be medically COMPETENT
SECONDLY, the Catholic doctor must have the CONVICTION  
THIRDLY, this involves the doctor's appreciation of the nature of society and COMMUNITY  
FOURTHLY, the doctor must appreciate that motherhood is so fundamental to human existence that profound COMPASSION is necessary. This involves compassion for all mothers and families, believers or not, who suffer to beget and bring up their children.

One of the outstanding interventions was made by Congressman Chris Smith who focused on the "Duty to Protect and Assist Mothers and Children" in the context of the Global abortion "Surge", "Integration", which actually undermines maternal health.
Smith in his hard hitting speech spoke of his visits to the Darfur displaced persons camps and his meeting with NGO's for roundtable discussions on how to improve the appalling conditions in the camps. When issues surrounding the provision of basic necessities  such as food, water and medicines had been addressed some US and European NGO's "launched into a polemic on providing access to abortion" which according to Smith halted the discussions.
"The inherent values and innate dignity of the child in the womb mattered little if at all" Smith told the meeting and that he challenged the NGO's about their lack of concern for the unborn.
I respectfully but firmly asked how violence against children by abortion - dismemberment, chemical poisoning, lethal pills euphemistically marketed as medical abortion or manual vacuum aspirators (MVAs) can be construed as benign or caring.
So called "safe abortion" is the ultimate oxymoron, an Orwellian manipulation of language, designed to convey bogus respectability. I told them that abortion is never safe for the child and is antithetical to UN Development Goal 4 - which rallies the world to reduce child mortality. Abortion is, by any reasonable definition, child mortality. Its sole purpose is to kill a baby"[...]
 Smith continued
I was amazed that they seemed totally unaware of the plethora of credible studies - literally hundreds of them - that show that women who abort a child suffer significant deleterious physical and psychological consequences especially in the intermediate and longer term.
And that the risk of subsequent  children being born prematurely or of low birth weight - a leading cause infant mortality and morbidity - rises by over a third after one abortion and significantly higher after two or more. Abortion can cause disability in subsequent children - including chronic lung disease, sensory deficits, cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments and behavior problems - a consequence that is grossly under-appreciated. [...]
Additionally Smith questioned the women in the camps about their own wishes
And most important of all, the pregnant women themselves in both IDP camps told me they simply wanted to protect their precious unborn child, give birth to a healthy infant and be strong enough to nurse. They didn't want abortion. I actually asked.

Smith also recounted how the Obama administration has done his best to spread abortion both in the United States and abroad. He pointed out that the US has misrepresented many of the UN Millenium Development Goals in order to promote abortion in developing countries.   He also spoke of how the Obama administration has continued to spread abortion through Obamacare, the repeal of conscience protections, the contraception mandate (which includes the morning after pill/plan B), the repeal of the Mexico City Policy, and most recently, the apparent support of China’s one-child/forced abortion policy. 
Smith raised these issues to emphasize that there is much work to be done in the US, and how what is happening there is affecting other countries because the United States provides considerable levels of foreign aid but sadly it comes with conditions.