Jun 7, 2013 / 05:01 am
The head of an international charity called the billions of dollars funding "reproductive health" in the developing world an effort to do away with motherhood rather than shrink the maternal mortality rate.
"The objective is not to reduce maternal mortality but to eliminate motherhood," Dr. Robert L. Walley of the Canada-based MaterCare International told CNA June 3.
Of the over 300,000 maternal deaths that take place in the developing world each a year, the majority of them occur in the last three months of pregnancy, during delivery or shortly after, Walley said – while a very small percentage of those deaths are abortion-related.
Mothers, he noted, "die frequently in unclean conditions, alone, in terror and agony without trained assistants, or access to proper life saving care."
And delivery is only the "tip of the iceberg" when it comes to maternal mortality, he said. Even if she delivers a healthy baby, the mother may still suffer from postpartum hemorrhaging, infection or diseases such as malaria or AIDS.
Rather than providing birth control or abortions to reduce the maternal death rate, Walley says the best solution is to help support mothers during pregnancy, delivery and recovery.
However, the majority of government and private funding is given to organizations promoting contraception and abortion as a solution to the worldwide maternal mortality rate.
"While governments and private agencies spend billions of dollars on reproductive health programs, only a small fraction is spent on life-saving emergency obstetrical care," he said.
"This neglect to provide essential care amounts to a form of violence, by omission."
He used the example of the Gates Foundation, which Melinda Gates has used to push contraceptives like Depo-Provera, an injection of progesterone that suppresses a woman's ovulation.
Risks associated with the drug include breast cancer, ectopic pregnancy, delayed return to fertility after discontinuation and loss of bone mineral density.
Alternatively, for over 20 years, MaterCare International has been working to provide maternity care for mothers mainly in sub-Sahara Africa that "respects their dignity and offers life and hope."
The group has set up programs to train local doctors and midwives in safe delivery techniques and natural family planning, as well an emergency transport system to take mothers to the nearest hospital if necessary.
However, the charity has been turned down "countless times" for funding by the Canadian government since it does not provide abortions or contraceptives.
Most recently, the group was "frozen out" of the $82 million in funding between 2011 and 2016 from the Canadian development agency, while Planned Parenthood received $6 million in funding.
They had requested $2.2 million in funding to open a hospital near its thriving maternity clinic in Isiolo, Kenya.
Recently, the work of MaterCare International was recognized by now-retired pontiff Benedict XVI when he honored them with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice – "for the Church and the Pope" – award.
More information on the organization can be found at: http://www.matercare.org/.