Pro-Lifers Tell World Health Assembly Mtg Abortion Won’t Help Maternal Mortality

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 21, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Lifers Tell World Health Assembly Mtg Abortion Won’t Help Maternal Mortality

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 21
, 2009

Geneva, Switzerland ( — The 62nd World Health Assembly is meeting this week and pro-life advocates are there urging the organization to do a better job of addressing maternal mortality. While abortion advocates want United Nations groups to do more to promote abortion, they want the UN to help women have health pregnancies.

The WHA is the governing board of the World Health Organization (WHO) that works with health ministers from across the globe in setting and implementing health policies and protocols.

Scott Fischbach, the executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, is there as part of the large statewide pro-life’s group’s new emphasis on global issues.

He is using the conference as the venue to release it’s new report on maternal mortality.

Improved medical care, not abortion, is the solution to the problem of maternal deaths in the developing world, the report says.

"For many years the focus on reducing maternal mortality in the developing world has centered on legalizing abortion in developing countries," he tells

"As pro-life people we are concerned about all human life — born and unborn — mothers and their unborn babies," Fischbach explained. "Reducing maternal mortality is an crucial issue that pro-lifers want addressed too, the question is how can we do it."

"The United Nations set out development goals to reduce maternal mortality with their Millennium Development Goals, yet maternal mortality rates are not dropping in the developing world as fast as they should be," he added. "We hope to shed new light and focus on this critical issue here at the WHA."

The analysis, “Does Legalizing Abortion Protect Women’s Health?”, compares the impact of improved medical care and legalized abortion on maternal mortality rates in several countries.

Maternal deaths declined sharply in the United States, England and Wales through the 1930s and 1940s, for example, coinciding with advancements in antibiotics, penicillin and blood transfusions. This occurred long before the widespread legalization of abortion.

Sri Lanka sharply reduced its maternal mortality rate by making professional midwives and supervisory nurse-midwives widely available in rural areas and by providing a steady supply of appropriate drugs and equipment, improved communication, transportation, and backup services. Yet, Sri Lanka does not have legal abortion except to save the life of the mother.

By comparison, according to the United Nations Population Division (UNPD), there has been no substantial decrease in maternal mortality or child mortality in the developing world since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

This is true even though, in that same period, more women have had access to legal abortion than ever before. For example, in India abortion is broadly legal, but maternal deaths are common due to dangerous medical conditions.

In the developing world, the danger of legalized abortion is profound, the analysis found.

“Women generally at risk because they lack access to a doctor, hospital, or antibiotics before abortion’s legalization will face those same circumstances after legalization. And if legalization triggers a higher demand for abortion, as it has in most countries, more injured women will compete for those scarce medical resources. The number of abortion-related maternal deaths may actually increase," he told

In conjunction with the National Right to Life Committee, Fischbach’s group will be releasing a brand new brochure on maternal mortality.

He says the brochure has been needed for years to refute the "horrible inaccuracies" that have been promoted by WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and Planned Parenthood in the past.

“We have known for decades that most maternal deaths can be prevented with adequate nutrition, basic health care, and good obstetric care throughout pregnancy, at delivery, and postpartum,” said Fischbach. “Yet some in the international community have focused its resources primarily on legalizing abortion, in many cases at the expense of women’s lives.”

“WHA delegates in Geneva will make decisions that will have long-lasting implications,” Fischbach said.

He said he is hopeful that "our efforts to provide this vital information about reducing maternal mortality will save the lives of hundreds of thousands of woman and unborn children every year across the globe.”

Related web sites:
Scott Fischbach YouTube report from WHA meeting –
Second Fischbach video –

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