World Health Assembly
2010 Focuses on
Millennium Development Goals
Head, with Patrick Buckley, of the UK Society for the
Protection of Unborn Children(right), and Scott Fischbach,
of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, at World Health
Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland on May 17-21, 2010.
The 63rd World Health
Assembly (WHA) held in Geneva, Switzerland, May 17–21 focused
primarily on the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, which
were established in the year 2000. Progress at meeting these goals
will be reviewed at a special United Nations session in New York in
The WHA, which is the
governing body of the World Health Organization, is composed of
health ministers and delegates from 188 countries. At its May
meeting, the WHA focused on Goals 4, 5, and 6 in particular. Goals 4
and 5 call for substantial reductions in both maternal and child
mortality by 2015. (Goal 6 relates to combating HIV/AIDS, malaria,
and other diseases.)
The background to this
meeting is that with only five years to go, insufficient progress
has been made on meeting targets in the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals. Consequently, the targets established cannot be
realized without accelerated programs.
Three major technical
briefings were held as side events at the five-day meeting focusing
on progress, challenges that remain, and strategies to achieve the
Millennium Development Goals.
continued to promote decreasing the number of children women deliver
as a means to decrease maternal mortality. However, the technical
briefing sessions focused primarily on known and effective means of
decreasing maternal mortality, rather than on promoting the
legalization of abortion, as they usually do.
The solution to illegal
abortions and high maternal mortality does not lie in legalizing
abortion but in providing adequate health education and care,
including the provision of pre- and post-natal care, emergency
obstetric care, ensuring a clean blood supply and a clean water
supply, adequate supplies of antibiotics and other vital
medications, and good nutrition.
Statistics confirm that
these measures save women’s lives—not the legalization of abortion.
High maternal mortality
is not a result of the prohibition of abortion but the lack and
unavailability of modern, quality health care. Legalizing abortion
actually leads to more abortions—and in the developing world where
maternal health care is poor, this would increase the number of
women who die or are harmed by abortion.