Holy See says maternal deaths must be combated while respecting rights of children


The Holy See’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, said this week that countries must combat maternal deaths with policies that respect the lives of both the mother and the unborn child.

During his June 14 address at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Archbishop Tomasi said, “the policies for combating maternal mortality and infant mortality should strike a balance between the rights of the mother and those of the child, in that both have rights, the first of which is the right to life.”

“The maternity clinics and hospitals promoted by the Catholic Church do precisely this: they save the lives of both mothers and children, those born and those yet to be born,” he declared.

According to Fides news agency, the archbishop said reducing maternal mortality is possible with higher per capita income, greater education for women and improvements in health care systems.

Archbishop Tomasi also declared that “the availability of emergency obstetric care, including the provision of universal pre and post-natal care, and adequate transport to medical facilities (when necessary), skilled birth attendants, a clean blood supply and a clean water supply, appropriate antibiotics, and the introduction of a minimum age of 18 years for marriage, are all measures that could benefit both mothers and their children.”

“If the international community wishes to effectively reduce the tragic rates of maternal mortality, respect for and promotion of the right to health and of access to medications must not only be spoken about, but also be put into action by States as well as by non-governmental organizations and by civil society,” Archbishop Tomasi concluded.

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