ST. JOHN’S, Nfld, October 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The president of Canada’s overseas maternal health organization Matercare International, Dr. Robert Walley, has revealed that a request for funding from the federal government has again been denied.
Dr. Walley said that an application for $2.2 million in funding to establish a hospital in Isiolo, Kenya, where the organization now runs a clinic for mothers and their children, was denied by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
“We were told that we would never get funding simply because we wouldn’t provide reproductive health—that we were ‘too Catholic’ and too close to the Pope,” Dr. Walley told Catholic News Agency.
The decision not to fund Matercare comes in the wake of the recent decision of the federal government that funding for International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world’s largest abortion provider, will be resumed, in the amount of $6 million over three years, after being denied since 2009.
Matercare International (MCI) is an organization of Catholic obstetricians and gynaecologists dedicated to the care of mothers and babies, both born and unborn, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Dr. Walley noted that, despite being asked for input before the 2010 G8 summit, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed Canada to improving maternal health in developing countries, MCI has consistently been denied funding on the basis that the group does not promote abortion or contraception. This is despite the fact that the Harper government had originally maintained that abortion would not be part of the maternal health initiative.
Instead, Harper’s maternal health initiative was to be focused on “clean water, inoculations and better nutrition, as well as the training of health workers to care for women and deliver babies” – an approach to combating maternal mortality that MCI strongly supports.
“I was invited to the Prime Minister of Canada’s office to brief and advise about this initiative,” Dr. Walley said, adding that to again be denied funding was insulting.
Dr. Walley told Catholic News Agency that MaterCare’s stance against abortion and contraception is a complete non-issue and should have no influence in CIDA’s decision.
“Abortion and birth control are irrelevant to solving the problem of maternal mortality,” he explained.
“All the deaths occur during the last three months of pregnancy during labor and delivery and one week after—so what on earth is a birth control pill or a condom going to do?”
At MCI’s 8th international conference held in Rome in September, Nigerian obstetrician Dr. Henrietta Williams M.D. (Obs/Gyn.), FCMC, BA Divinity, said “Policy makers need to understand that some of the key current sexual and reproductive health policies which place undue emphasis on contraceptives and abortion as the solution for maternal mortality are ineffective, and cannot be accepted without violating African cultural values.
“Socio cultural values of motherhood, marriage, fertility, pre marital chastity, fidelity in marriage, nuclear and extended family have guaranteed the survival of Africans on a hostile continent from where they successfully populated the whole earth from one African mother,” he said.
Dr. Williams concluded that formal education, antenatal care, and improved health services remain the key to a large-scale reduction in maternal mortality.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
Bev Oda, MP (Durham) and Minister of International Cooperation
House of Commons
Phone: (613) 992-2792
Fax: (613) 992-2794