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International health summit pushes ideology

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It's violence against women
By Natalie Sonnen
A photo from the prime minister's website shows Stephen Harper in 2010, when he announced billions of dollars in funding over the next five years for maternal, newborn, and child health.A photo from the prime minister's website shows Stephen Harper in 2010, when he announced billions of dollars in funding over the next five years for maternal, newborn, and child health.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called a summit in Toronto, May 28-30, to address maternal, newborn, and child health. It will be a follow-up to the Muskoka Initiative that he announced at the G-8 Summit in 2010.

According to World Health Organization and World Bank estimates, the Muskoka Initiative was to assist developing countries to prevent the deaths of 1.3 million children under 5 years of age, prevent the deaths of 64,000 mothers, and give access to modern methods of family planning to 12 million couples.

Unfortunately, this important enterprise has been overshadowed by calls for "sexual and reproductive rights," the euphemism for abortion, and it has been obsessed with providing contraceptives, many of them abortifacient, to couples and girls.

Stephen Harper has promised, amid intense international pressure, not to include abortion in the Muskoka Initiative, but funding has gone to the usual suspects.

In the year after the announcement of the Muskoka Initiative at the G-8 Summit, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced its funding plans. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) would receive $6 million, and the UNFPA would get a whopping $40 million. In all, a total of $82 million was dispersed to non-government organizations.

Although Planned Parenthood and the UNFPA have signed agreements not to perform abortions with this money, it in no way prevents these organizations from lobbying at both local and national levels for abortion services in the five target countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan, Tanzania).

Both the IPPF and the UNFPA are notorious for their extreme anti-life ideologies, employing harsh steroid-based contraceptives such as Depo Provera and Norplant in countries that value family life and oppose such methods for a variety of reasons.

As part of their funding proposal to CIDA, the IPPF committed to providing to developing nations "a continuous supply of a variety of contraceptives, so that clients can choose their preferred method without interruption whenever they want." In addition, they would provide "surgical methods such as IUDs, vasectomy, and bilateral tubal ligation."

Data from a United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS published in 2009 is particularly galling, as research has shown that close to 50 per cent of all newly acquired HIV-1 infections across the globe now occur in women of reproduction age.

More and more women are being infected, even when treatment for HIV has become more accessible and the overall death toll has been decreasing. The reason: heavily funded population control programs are promoting and even imposing powerful contraceptive drugs on tens of millions of Third World women.

According to the Population Research Institute, "what they trumpet as 'greater global access to family planning methods' has in fact given the HIV virus greater access to women's bodies by altering women's local and systemic immunities, cervico-vaginal responses, and protective vaginal flora, all in directions that make infection more likely."

While IPPF and the UNFPA have received government funding for years, another agency, MaterCare International, that provides vital, life-saving obstetric care throughout East and West Africa, has been consistently denied any funding whatsoever for well over a decade.

MaterCare has applied for funds 11 times and been denied every time, because according to CIDA, their project, the West African Regional Birth Trauma Centre in Ghana, was "aimed at curing the problem rather than preventing it from taking place," and because MaterCare has been found to be "too Catholic."

MaterCare has been in operation since 1981. Over the years it has done incredible work, developing a model of rural obstetrics that takes into account the obstetrical causes of death and provides prenatal care, treatment for life-threatening complications, and post-natal care. It also addresses other obstructions to survival, such as lack of transport, poor roads, and lack of infrastructure and trained personnel.

Dr. Robert Walley, founder and CEO of MaterCare, maintains that "Abortion and birth control are irrelevant to reducing maternal mortality, as most deaths occur during the last 3 months of pregnancy, during labour and delivery, and one week afterwards."

"To deny the provision of essential obstetrics is a form of violence against women, violence by omission, i.e. by culpable negligence not to have done what was necessary, in this case, providing essential care during pregnancy and childbirth."

It's interesting to note a request for information about who would be invited was made to the organizing committee of the upcoming Toronto summit by Run With Life blogger Patricia Maloney. It seems that choosing participating organizations and submitting names is an "internal process" that cannot be discussed.

No organization that is affiliated with the pro-life cause that LifeCanada knows of has been included on the invitation list, even among those who work specifically in the developing world.

It seems, tragically, that the upcoming summit will provide more of the same, namely the promotion of an ideology, a new colonialism, which sees contraception and abortion as the primary model for assisting women and families in the developing world.

Natalie Sonnen is the executive director of LifeCanada, a national education organization dedicated to bringing respect to all human life. More info at

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 May 2014 08:52  

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