The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is a sponsor to an initiative that includes support for legal abortion.
The initiative, titled "Deliver Now for Women and Children," was launched in New York last week by various United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations. UNICEF has persistently denied that it supports abortion in any way, shape, or form.
The "Deliver Now" campaign's stated objective is the improvement of maternal and child health. It lists a number of severe maladies that affect maternal health, concluding “most maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to and could use professional care.” The campaign defines quality care as including “services before and during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period, as well as safe abortion.” "Safe abortion" is often a synonym for legal abortion.
The accuracy of some information from the "Deliver Now" promotional materials has also been questioned. The campaign's website appears to conflate the total number of childhood deaths with the number of deaths women suffer from maternal causes. Though childhood mortality numbers are compiled from official sources, the data for maternal mortality statistics are often unavailable, unreliable, or poorly estimated and thus are a doubtful basis for policy.
Pro-family UN critics worry that the campaign's inclusion of legal abortion advocacy distracts from addressing major health risks to pregnant women in the developing world. Severe bleeding, ecclampsia, and obstructed labor can be remedied not by legal abortion but rather by the presence of skilled birth attendants and access to emergency obstetrics care.