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NRL News
Page 10
June 2010
Volume 37
Issue 6

World Health Assembly 2010 Focuses on
Millennium Development Goals

Jeanne 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 September.

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.

Several speakers 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.