I understand that there are many people who believe in the need to internationally fund abortion in destitute areas as a method of supporting equal rights for women.  But what I don’t get is that these same people—who claim to care oh, so much about impoverished women and children—would interfere with a Canadian initiative to fund maternal and infant health initiatives to reduce maternal death rates and the like—unless abortion is included.

The need for assistance is undeniable.  From The Corner:

The numbers are shocking: In Sierra Leone, 16 percent of all infants perish, and 28 percent of all children die before they reach the age of five.  In thirteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 1,000 women die in childbirth for every 100,000 live births.  In Afghanistan, one in eight women will die as a result of bearing children.  All in all, 99 percent of maternal deaths worldwide occur in developing countries.

But the international consensus to relieve this horror is floundering on the rocks of abortion.
Globally, divergent groups and organizations have banded together to find ways to reduce maternal and infant deaths, and to call attention to this largely neglected issue. This coalition has recognized that women and children have often been a marginalized political constituency, and that the deaths of poor women have often not mattered enough to draw the attention necessary to leverage policy or funding commitments...Given this, one would expect there to be universal support for Canada’s leadership in taking on these problems and working to meet these critical needs.  But the Obama administration is obstructing this positive consensus.  Hillary Clinton, when asked about Canada’s G8 plan to address infant and maternal health in the developing world, said the following: “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health. And reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortion.”

If the USA and other countries derail this important initiative in a snit because of the abortion issue, it will reveal that their concern for the world’s poor women is more show than substance.  Indeed, even if one believes that open access to abortion is a crucial issue, if that can’t be obtained, you should still support what can be achieved to help women and young children in desperate straits.  That is, you would unless the symbolism of the abortion license is more important to you than the actual lives of the very women and young children you claim to want to protect.

Articles by Wesley J. Smith

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