National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund
- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Not available
- Additional Document:
Human beings are the center of all sustainable development.
The loss of mothers and babies due to lack of even basic health care and the failure to dedicate adequate resources to save women's lives is the greatest impediment to development in all areas.
It is essential to the achievement of MDG Goals 4 & 5 (as well as 6) and to their empowerment that women of the developing world receive the kind health care, particularly maternal and child health care, which has been available to women in the developed world for over 60 years, that would provide a safe outcome for mother and child.
The world has failed to reach these goals because the resources have been directed toward decreasing the number of children women deliver, rather than making the delivery of their children safe and has failed to properly direct resources to save women?s lives.
There is no doubt that unless and until MDG 5 (improving maternal health) is fully realized, none of the other MDGs will succeed and the world will be no better off than we were when the MDGs were conceived 11 years ago.
Even though the new estimates by Lancet of 350,000 per year are 150,000 fewer than the WHO estimates of over 500,000, these new estimates are still shockingly high. MDG 5 will not be achieved by 2015 unless there is a significant acceleration in allocation and in proper direction of resources.
We have grave concern about the false and dangerous claims that the way to reduce maternal mortality in the developing world is to legalize abortion. It is never necessary to directly attack the unborn child to protect the health of the mother in non life threatening cases and that laws against abortion should and do allow for those medical procedures that prevent the death of the mother while at the same time striving to save the baby?s life.
The WHO also tells us that 99% of maternal mortality occurs in the Developing World. We have known how to save women?s lives in the developed world for over 60 years. According to WHO, the dramatic decline in maternal mortality in the Developed World from 1940?s to 1950?s coincided with the development of obstetric techniques, the availability of antibiotics and improvement in the general health status of women (WHO, Maternal Mortality: A Global Fact Book, 1991)
The lack of modern medicine and quality health care, not the prohibition of abortion, results in high maternal mortality rates. Legalized abortion actually leads to more abortions?and in the developing world, where maternal health care is poor, legalization would increase the number of women who die or are harmed by abortion.
Legal abortion does not mean safe abortion. The evidence shows that a country?s maternal mortality rate is determined to a much greater extent by the quality of medical care than by the legal status of abortion. Abortion complications are not a function of the legality of the procedure, but by the overall medical circumstances in which abortion is performed.
In its 2003 Report, Unsafe Abortion (Fifth edition), the World Health Organization states:
?In some countries, lack of resources and possibly skills may mean that even abortions that meet the legal and medical requirements of the country would not necessarily be considered sufficiently safe in high-resource settings?. In other words, as they said in their 1998 Report, ?the legality or illegality of the services may not be the defining factor of their safety?.
Comparison made between nations that have strong abortion restrictions, such as Ireland and Poland, and nations that permit abortion on demand, such as Russia and the United States, demonstrates that nations with strong abortion restrictions actually have lower maternal death rates than countries that permit abortion on demand.
For example, in India abortion is broadly legal, but maternal deaths are common due to dangerous medical conditions. According to Abortion Policies:A Global Review by the UNPD, ?Despite the liberalization of the abortion law, unsafe abortions have contributed to the high rates of maternal mortality in India [570 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990.?
Conversely, the maternal mortality rate in Paraguay is much lower, despite the prohibition of most abortions and the fact that ?clandestine abortion is common.? The rate has actually been declining??from 300 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1986 to the most recent 1995 government estimate of 190 deaths per 100,000 live births.?
The key, therefore, to reduction in maternal mortality rates from all causes, including abortion, is the improvement of maternal health care, not the legalization of abortion. In the developing world?where medical care, antibiotics, and even basic asepsis are scarce or absent?promoting abortion would increase, not decrease maternal mortality.
No abortion is ever completely safe, and, of course, abortion is never safe for the youngest member of the human family--the unborn child, who at the time of most abortions, which are performed at eight or ten weeks, already has a beating heart, brain waves, eyes, ears, fingers and toes.
Abortion is not good for women. With every abortion there is at least one dead and one wounded and sometimes two dead. Mothers still die and many are terribly wounded physically, emotionally or psychologically by abortion.
Again, human beings must be the center of all sustainable development.