By Marie-Christine Houle

  LONDON, England, October 23, 2007 ( – Reports from the “Women Deliver” Conference held in London and other locations last week are starting to come in. The pro-life coalition denounced the fact that no attention was given to some topics that would drastically improve maternal and child health.

  Conference organizers identified 32 ‘focus countries’ because they did not successfully reduce their maternal mortality rates since the ratification of the Millennium Development Goals. Rina Jimenez- David of The Inquirer explained that “in each of the focus countries, government representatives and civil society leaders have been invited to participate in a ‘ministers’ meeting’ to discuss firm budgetary and program commitments to address maternal mortality”.

  A special Women Deliver session on the conference theme, “Invest in Women – It Pays!” was hosted by the World Bank on Oct. 18 in Washington. The World Bank meeting agenda is reported to have included discussion of  recommendations in a Women Deliver background research paper on the economic and social benefits of investments in improved “maternal health”, Women Deliver’s code word for increased abortion rights.

  Joanne Omang from the Global Health Council reported that “Ministers of finance from 32 Women Deliver target countries were invited to the special gathering, along with donor governments’ ministers of development cooperation”. 

  The list of the 32 countries selected by the “Women Deliver” conference as ‘focus countries’ was not available on the conference website. Meetings of this type are typically used to pressure pro-life countries to review their position on family planning and abortion in exchange for funding. The World Bank invitation to the 32 ministers of finance would have been especially intimidating to those nations, most of which are likely currently very dependent on aid for development.

  Another document utilized by pro-abortion groups at “Women Deliver” was “A measure of survival: calculating women’s sexual and reproductive risk PAI report card 2007”, published by Population Action International. The purpose of the document was to rank the countries according to the sexual and reproductive risks faced by women. The many variables evaluated for the purpose of the report include abortion policies and whether or not family planning demands are met. It states that “pregnancy is the leading cause of death for young women aged 15 to 19 worldwide”. The analysis constructs pregnancy as a problem to which abortion is seen as a legitimate solution.

  For the most part, Latin American countries are found in the high and moderate risk categories. There is substantial variation within the region on issues such as HIV prevalence among adults 15-49, adolescent fertility and others. However, notably common among these countries is the fact they allow abortion only to save the life of the mother, to preserve the mother’s physical heath or prohibit it all together.

  For Population Action International strict abortion laws are cause to give a country a bad ranking. This bias attitude in favor of abortion legalization is demonstrated through various statements made in the report such as “it is estimated that up to 100,000 maternal deaths could be avoided each year if unintended pregnancies were prevented” or “women’s health and lives are less at risk where abortion is legal”. The statements are supported by statistics that are unreliable due to the fact that, in some of the countries studied, abortion is illegal and would therefore not be reported.

  Pressure is increasing as Latin American leaders are asked to move away from their historical support for pro-life legislation. A session of “Women Deliver” titled “Repositioning Latin America and the Caribbean to Address the Unfinished Sexual and Reproductive Health Agenda” was only one of the means utilized to launch an assault on the right to life in Latin America. The conference abstract for this session states that the panel aimed at “exploring the on-going sexual and reproductive health problems faced by marginalized sub-groups”. Using the minority protection credo, pro-abortion members of the international community will continue to pressure the region to fall in line at the risk of losing funding and support from donor countries in Europe and elsewhere.

  A more generic summary of “Women Deliver” will be presented later this week, as more information about specifics is acquired.

  The Marie Stopes “Global Safe Abortion Conference 2007” is opening in London today and is using the platform of the just completed “Women Deliver” in London to promote its own agenda. It will be interesting to see how much the two conferences will have in common and the outcomes of their pro-abortion message on the international psyche. A comparative analysis will be prepared at the close of “Global Safe Abortion Conference 2007” scheduled to conclude Wednesday evening.

  See Global Safe Abortion Conference 2007 web page