More contraceptives the solution to Afghanistan’s maternal health woes: UN-trained health minister
KABUL, August 24, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Some Islamic leaders in Afghanistan are objecting strongly to the proposal made by the country’s health minister, Suraya Dalil, to start government-sponsored contraceptive programs to alleviate poverty and maternal mortality. Afghanistan’s nearly 30 million people are over 99 percent Islamic.
Khalilullah Mohammad, a lecturer in Islamic law at Kabul University, told Reuters news agency, “It is not up to us to control the reproduction of children.”
“The holy Koran tells us not to kill your children ... If anyone asks me advice on this new plan, I will strictly oppose it.”
Dalil said, however, that the government would be pushing contraceptives as part of its efforts to improve the lot of women and boost the country’s economic outlook.
“In addition to providing education, counseling and improving women’s access to birth control supply, it is equally important to include men in the family planning discussion,” she said.
The Afghan government ratified the United Nations’ Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, (CEDAW) agreement in March, 2003. The CEDAW review committee is well known for its attempts to bully smaller nations into adopting the UN’s population control efforts by legalizing or expanding availability of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion.
A long-time promoter of contraceptives for “family planning”, the U.S.-educated Dalil is a product of the United Nations heavily pro-abortion and anti-family political machinery.
Dalil began her career working for Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and moved on to work helping Afghan refugees for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In 1994 she joined the UNICEF sub-office in Mazar-e-Sharif. After the Taliban takeover, she fled to Pakistan and continued working for the UNICEF Afghan office from Islamabad.
This summer she told MS. Magazine, the flagship periodical of the feminist movement, “Many Afghan women know about family planning, birth spacing and contraceptives. They need to have access to them.”
With Afghanistan having the highest birth rate in Asia, it is a major target of abortion and population control groups. The New York Times reported on meetings with Afghan mullahs organized by Marie Stopes International, one of the busiest abortionists in the developing world. These “informational seminars” were part of a larger effort to convince Islamic leaders to preach against women having “too many” babies.
Marie Stopes also delivers contraceptives to women door-to-door in Afghanistan’s cities. The organization, which works closely with UN organizations, estimates that in 2009 alone, the sale of birth control pills nearly doubled to 11,000 packages in September from 6,000 packages in January.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also launched a project to promote contraception, in the country, in conjunction with local Afghan health agencies; the WHO estimated they reached 3,700 families in three communities with the program.
While research undertaken by UNICEF found that the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is shockingly high, up to 8 per cent, one international aid organization has fought the mentality in developing countries that says contraception and abortion are the solutions. Pointing out that some of the countries with the strictest laws on abortion, such as Ireland, also have the lowest maternal mortality rates, Matercare International maintains that what women really need is good medical care and social supports through their pregnancies and beyond.
The organization, which provides on-the-ground medical assistance to mothers in poor countries, issued a report this year saying, “Maternal deaths and birth injuries, such as obstetric fistulae, are among the greatest tragedies of our times, especially since they are preventable and treatable. Tragically, however, there are not the trained personnel or hospitals needed, especially for the rural poor.”
The consensus of the obstetricians, the report added, is that the solution to reducing maternal mortalities lies in providing prenatal care, skilled attendants at all deliveries, and accessibility to specialist care for life threatening complications.
“Nonetheless, driven by ideology, most international health aid agencies continue to insist that the principle strategy to reducing maternal deaths in developing countries should be the promotion of so called ‘safe’ abortion and birth control, despite no sound reasoning or evidence for community support for such policies.”