Samantha Singson of C-FAM reports that a two-and-a-half day United Nations-sponsored conference scheduled for next week is billed as addressing maternal and child health but focuses primarily on promoting abortion. Out of 98 scheduled sessions, 35 of them focus on abortion while only two address newborn health. Entitled “Women Deliver,” the conference will take place in London October 18-20.
Co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Asha-Rose Migiro, the conference is scheduled to have in attendance the executive directors of UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) deputy executive director as well as leading abortion providers and advocates from across the globe.
Even though a 2004 UNFPA report states that the best way to reduce maternal mortality is through the presence of skilled birth attendants and emergency obstetrics, both of these issues are only minimally addressed at the upcoming conference. Caesarian births, peri- and post-natal care, and stillbirths and their related complications are similarly downplayed.
Child mortality is comparatively absent from the program. There are no sessions that address primary child health issues such as vaccine availability, clean water and safe sanitation, availability of basic nutritional supplementation such as prenatal vitamins and children’s vitamins, or the training of village health workers in identifying and counteracting protein calorie malnutrition.
According to the schedule, each of the three daily opening plenary sessions highlights reproductive rights with leading abortion advocates. Family Care International’s Fred Sai, chief architect of the “Safe Motherhood” movement which tried to link abortion rights to maternal mortality, is scheduled for the first day. The second day’s plenary session features Frances Kissling, former president of “Catholics” for a Free Choice, and Gill Greer, director-general of the IPPF. On the final day of the conference, the plenary session is entirely devoted to top abortion providers, Ipas and Marie Stopes International, who will be seeking to bolster publicity and support for their own abortion rights conference taking place in London on the heels of the Women Deliver conference.
One pro-life representative noted, “If UNICEF and the other organizers cared more about maternal and child health they would focus on the top killers of women and children. It is clear to us that this conference is more about promoting abortion than it is about dealing with the issues that most women face every day.”
UNICEF and UNFPA officials still publicly maintain that their agencies do not take positions on abortion.
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