Oda says no abortion, contraceptives support
But the WHO reports that lack of both contributes to unnecessary deaths.
CIDA Minister Bev Oda says the government’s child and maternal health strategy will not address unsafe abortions in developing countries or support access to family planning and contraceptives. Rather, she said that to ensure the aid agency remains effective, “it’s the lives of mothers and babies that we are focused on.”
But with nearly 15 per cent of all maternal deaths being attributed to such abortions, and up to 40 per cent of maternal deaths preventable with access to family planning and contraception, experts and critics say support for these areas is essential.
On Jan. 28, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that rallying support for maternal and child health would be a major focus of Canada’s G8 presidency. In developing countries, more than 500,000 women die each year in pregnancy and 9 million children die before the age of five.
When asked about support for contraceptives and family planning in an interview last week, Ms. Oda said: “In order to maintain our focus, again our focus is on maternal and child health and mortality rates.
“We want to make sure that mothers, pregnant women, are healthy and can have safe births, and that the birthing process is made safer because if you look at the number of births during the actual birthing process, that’s where a number of maternal deaths happen,” she added.
“We also want to make sure when babies are born, they are born as healthy as possible so that they can live through their early age, up to the age of five, with as strong and good health as possible.”
The decision by the Harper Conservatives to not include addressing abortion safety as part of their effort would seem to question just how sincere their effort to address maternal and child care really is, not to mention how effective it would be, according to the experts:
A recent report from the New York-based Guttmacher Institute found that 20 million unsafe abortions are performed in developing countries each year, and World Health Organization spokeswoman Olivia Lawe-Davies said 68,000 women die because of unsafe abortions.