Doctors fear abortion flip flop at G8

  • May 7, 2010
G8Catholic physicians fear that Canada will succumb to pressure from G8 leaders to include abortion in its maternal health care plan for the Third World.

“I bet that will happen if it gets on the table (at the G8 Summit in June in Huntsville, Ont.)” said Dr. Robert Walley, executive director of MaterCare International.

Walley said his greatest concern, if abortion creeps in, is  that it will affect the criteria for obtaining funding. He said the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has repeatedly rejected MaterCare’s request for funding solely on the basis of services he does not provide.

“It’s because we don’t provide reproductive health care and we’ve been told that directly by CIDA,” said Walley, an emeritus professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Memorial University in St. John’s, Nfld.

Reproductive health care, which Walley said CIDA outlined to him as abortion and contraception, make no sense for the many women who are dying because they have no access to essential obstetrics.

“What they’re doing is not meeting the mother’s needs. It’s ridiculous, if you’re dying of postpartum hemorrhage or obstructed labour, to suggest abortion. That’s too late, moral argument aside.

“This could have been the first time where a government got it right and said we’re going to promote essential obstetrics to mothers who need it,” said Walley.

He has spent more than a decade treating women in Sierra Leone where there is one of the highest documented maternal mortality rates in the world, according to the Word Health Organization.

MaterCare provides training and research in Sierra Leone in obstetrics and gynecology and has spent the past few years trying to raise funds to build a specialized hospital that would cater to women’s pregnancy issues. Plans are also being considered to help establish something similar at St. Damian’s Hospital in Tabbare, Haiti, as the obstetrical unit at St. Francis de Sales Hospital in Port au Prince was completely destroyed in the January earthquake.

Walley is concerned that funding for contraception will take priority over health care to treat illnesses and birth complications.

CIDA media relations officer Patti Robson said “Canada’s proposal for maternal and child health at the G8 will be based on the (World Health Organization) definition of family planning which includes the use of contraceptive methods and the treatment of involuntary fertility, but not abortion.”

Robson would not comment on whether non-governmental agencies would be funded if they didn’t provide contraception, but added “CIDA does not fund and will not fund any project specifically aimed at increasing the availability of abortion.”

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