So there is going to be a big meeting of the 'Big' G8 countries in Ontario in June. They are going to be discussing Maternal Health in the developing world. These countries have the highest maternal mortality rates and the highest infant mortality rates. The reasons for these high rates of death are varied in each country. It is generally acknowledged that one of the key factors in the mortality statistics has to do with the access a woman has to health care during her reproductive years.
For some reason the Prime Minster of Canada has made a statement that his government will only fund such Maternal Health initiatives that do not include abortion.
Ahhhhh.... wait a minute. Canadian women and most other women in the developed world have access to health care on demand and have access to all kinds of reproductive interventions (from abortion to fertility treatments). So what Stephen Harper is really saying is that poor women who are subjected to sexual violence in their homelands, rampant HIV infection, intermitten starvation and relatively few oppourtunities to access health care do not deserve the same choices as Western women. Hmmm....
Or is Stephen Harper showing his cards about how his conservative government would behave if they were actually in a majority in parliament? I kind of hope that he is showing his true colours and Canadians overwhelmingly vote him out or into another minority government because we will not tolerate his Right wing conservative agenda.
I have always been pro choice. This does not mean pro abortion. It means that I believe in individual choice. This was reinforced when I was pregnant for the first time. We were excited, it was a planned pregnancy and we knew that it was going to change our lives forever. But it got me thinking about all the women who fell pregnant due to sexual assault, poor planning and various other reasons. If someone did not want to be pregnant it really was a terrible sentence to have them remain so for 9 months.
Ironically one of the reasons why the maternal mortality is high in the developing world is due to the fact that many women access illegal abortions. These women are not choosing abortion because another child is 'bothersome'. They are choosing it to save the children that they have given birth to as sometimes one more is too much of a burden on a starving family. They are choosing abortion because rape is a common tactic of war. They are choosing abortion because they themselves are sick with HIV and knnow that another pregnancy will shorten thier own lives and create orphans.
But the why should not matter. Women in developed worlds have a choice. And truthfully if you can't trust me to make a choice then how can you trust me to care for a child?
Maternal Health funding needs to include all forms of medical intervention available to women. This includes birth control, proper prenatal care, proper post natal care, PAP smears and abortion.
The statement of the Canadian government regarding Maternal Health does not reflect the core values and rights that Canadian women themselves have.
So SHUT UP and SIT DOWN Mr. Harper.