Wednesday May 26, 2010

G8 Abortion Push Weakened as Study Finds Newborn Mortality at All-Time Low

May 26, 2010 ( – A new report released yesterday demonstrates that worldwide mortality for children under age 5 has dropped at a rate faster than expected and shows that child mortality is falling in every region of the world – a 35% reduction since 1990. The same prestigious institute that reported a significant drop in maternal mortality last month, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, today reported great progress in saving the lives of young children around the world.

The Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (PNCI) believes that the study will help lawmakers globally advance life-affirming health policies as they work to achieve Millennium Development Goal 4 which calls for a two-thirds reduction in mortality in children under 5 years of age by 2015.

According to PNCI Director, Marie Smith, “This study is welcome news to all those who labor to save the lives of children, born and unborn, around the world. It clearly documents that more newborns are surviving, including in developing countries. The overall number of children under five receiving critical health care to treat and prevent disease and illness shows the importance of access to life-affirming health care to achieve MDG 4.”

“The push to integrate efforts to reduce child and newborn mortality and the reduction of maternal mortality with the full gamut of so-called reproductive health services, including abortion, has been set back once again by reliable data and facts. This is critically important as world leaders prepare to meet at G-8 Summit in Canada and debate ways to improve maternal and child health.

“Canadian Prime Minister Harper should be heartened by this study which supports his bold stand against inclusion of abortion in a new global initiative on maternal and child health. The data from countries which protect unborn children from the violence of abortion clearly shows significant progress in reducing child mortality through practices which save lives.”

The study published in Lancet, Neonatal, postneonatal, childhood, and under-5 mortality for 187 countries, 1970-2010: a systematic analysis of progress towards Millennium Development Goal 4, shows worldwide mortality dropping from 11.9 million deaths in 1990 to 7.7 million deaths in 2010 and includes all regions of the world.

Smith adds, “This study shows a decline in child mortality within sub-Saharan Africa including in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and The Gambia. Many of these countries have been facing international pressure to legalize abortion.”

The lead author of the study and Assistant Professor of Global Health at IHME Julie Knoll Rajaratnam stated, “Previous estimates had shown child deaths falling slowly and neonatal deaths nearly at a standstill. We were able to double the amount of data and improve the accuracy of our estimates to find that children are doing better today than at any time in recent history, especially in the first month of life.”

This new data demonstrates that 31 developing countries are on pace to meet Millennium Development Goal 4 by 2015 including Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, and Egypt–all of which have laws restricting access to abortion. The study was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

PNCI believes this new data will assist elected officials devise policies that build on proven methods that save and protect the lives of all children, born and unborn.


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