Sunday, May 02, 2010

Meddling with the Most Vulnerable

In all the newsprint spent on Harper's controversial G8 maternal health plan, I can't find mention of a very important implication of the Conservative decision to not fund abortions: how organizations that support abortion will be funded.

George Bush was explicit about it. He prohibited US funding of international groups that performed abortions or provided information about abortion. Harper's decision could have the same effect, depending on how it's implemented.

Say you have a poor country and there's an organization that provides maternal health services - it could be a clinic or a hospital or a group that covers several facilities. Say their services include family planning and/or abortion. Are they still eligible for funding under this plan?

Does someone work out what percentage of their budget is related to abortion, and then Canada asks some other country to fund that portion? That seems unlikely. But if not that sort of scenario, then it seems we must be disadvantaging organizations that support abortion. That's not just wrong; it's immoral.

It's beyond belief that a country that provides free abortions to its citizens would use its foriegn aid policies to prevent poor women in Africa from having abortions - especially since abortion is needed even more in poor African countries, where poor women have less control over their bodies and it is estimated that a third of pregnancy-related deaths are due to botched abortions.

Foreign aid is a tricky business. One of the reasons that sub-Saharan Africa is still so poor is the mess we've made with our foreign aid-slash-meddling. Just think of this scenario: there's a village with a maternal health clinic that's funded with western money, and now that clinic has been told that it won't be funded unless it ceases performing abortions - or even giving advice about them. Thanks to George Bush wooing the evangelical vote, that went on for eight years. Thanks to Stephen Harper wooing the evangelical vote, that might be about to start happening again.



Joanne (True Blue) said...

It's beyond belief that a country that provides free abortions to its citizens<...

It's not free. Your taxes pay for it.

Yappa said...

Sure it's free. I can take the toll hiway or the free hiway. The free hiway is financed by taxation. I can go to a private clinic in the US to have a medical procedure done, or I can go to my Canadian doctor and have it done for free. Ditto: taxes.

What's so pernicious about taxes? Our society is based on the idea that we pay taxes and the amenities we need are paid for with them. It's a good thing. Taxes are good. They make our lives possible. Given the population, they're what staves off chaos.

Apologies if I've over-reacted to your brief comment but the US tea parties are getting to me. People are starting to become insane on the topic. It's a far bigger threat than communism.

Bert said...

Why should Canada provide abortions to improve maternal health in third world countries when we (yes, Canada) has poorer maternal health than Ireland and some former eastern block nations (Poland) ?. And, the maternal mortality rate declined from 275 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 1960 to 18.7 deaths in 2000, the largest reduction in any Latin country despite the fact that abortions are illegal there.

Yappa said...

Hi Bert,

I think the real question is: should Canada provide aid to sub-Saharan Africa?

We have signed agreements (the Millenial goals and others) promising that we will. I think most Canadians assume that we should.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Taxes are good. They make our lives possible. Given the population, they're what staves off chaos.

Well even socialist countries have their tipping point regarding taxes. eg Greece.

Ferd said...

I think it's a stretch to call Greece a 'socialist country'.

Bert said...

Hi Yappa. I definatelt think Canada should provide aid to Africa. However, abortion isn't the answer if you want to improve maternal health. Better sanitary facilities (toilets, clean water, etc) would go a lot farther than abortions, which, BTW, have a 100% mortality rate tor the fetus.