Thursday, May 20, 2010

Keith Martin Strikes Again

In his new post on our government's alleged G8 Maternal Health initiative, Mr. Martin makes one very salient but under-appreciated point:

Time is running out for mothers and children in the developing world. Less than six weeks remain before the G8 Summit begins in Ontario, and the Canadian government has yet to articulate any plan to reduce maternal and childhood mortality and morbidity, a key objective for the summit announced by Prime Minister Harper a few months ago.

We're getting close, in other words, and despite all the debate Harper's plan-to-have-a plan has generated, it remains in fact a nothing-burger. And it isn't out of the question that what will be eventually revealed to the G-8 will be so minimal as to extend little beyond the initial press release. I wouldn't be at all surprised if that wasn't the final result: a press conference and we're outta there and the whole episode is forgotten.

Martin is less cynical. He goes on to to outline a plan, which I too have been talking up (because it seems similar to what the government might have in mind), in which

Harper [would] propose a "framework" for action on Maternal Health, with this framework being divided into discreet little pots (as it were) named names like "training health care workers", "contraception" "safe abortions", "micro nutrients", and so forth. G-8 countries will be invited to drop money into one or more of these pots, with Canada assiduously avoiding the one marked "abortions".

Its interesting to note that, under Martin's hypothetical plan, its France (inventors of the "french safe") that get stuck with funding abortion.

Anyway, the third link is to last week's Christian Right piece as it appears in The Mark, where the publication's added credibility makes it seem twice as true.

11 comments:

R. G. Harvie said...

How is the idea of helping someone, in some way, a bad idea just because it doesn't help them the way someone else thinks is "best"?

In other words.

If I offer a starving pregnant woman food and pre-natal medical care, is it any less helpful to her if I don't also offer her a paid abortion?

It's like arguing in the liferafts around the Titanic over whether or not we throw a line to women first or children first, and instead, throw nothing at all.

wilson said...

Parliament voted 'no' to funding 3rd world abortions,
Parliament is supreme, it's a done deal.

sharonapple88 said...

If I offer a starving pregnant woman food and pre-natal medical care, is it any less helpful to her if I don't also offer her a paid abortion?

It depends. If for example she has a ectopic pregnancy pre-natal care won't do her any good. (There are countries like Nicaragua that ban abortions, even in the case of ectopic pregnancies.) In cases of rape victims, like in the Congo -- it's hard to argue for pre-natal care over an abortions (especially if the patient wants one).

I'm not saying all of the cases are the above, but there are cases where pre-natal care would be less helpful than an abortion.

Gene Rayburn said...

lovely to see how wilson conveniently invokes parliamentary supremacy when it suits her.

Guess it only applies to some.

sharonapple88 said...

Parliament voted 'no' to funding 3rd world abortions,
Parliament is supreme, it's a done deal.


I don't think this is a black and white issue.

Here's an article about Bush's
gag rule on abortions.

Gayle said...

"lovely to see how wilson conveniently invokes parliamentary supremacy when it suits her."

Especially since, in this context, Parliament is not supreme.

R. G. Harvie said...

Sharon.. I'm pro-choice. I think there are case, personally, where abortion is helpful.. but that being said, for the many, many women who don't fall in that category, isn't some help better than no help - even if it isn't as expansive as some might believe?

bigcitylib said...

R.D. Why not fund ALL help? Why leave stuff out? Just to accomodate Ouellet and his gang? 30% of the population?

In any case, it will ALL get funded if there is a substantive "plan" presented to the G8. We may just choose to fund it indirectly, and all this being a charade for, once again, the sake of 30% of the population.

Shiner said...

What's with the false dilemna Rob? Our choice isn't between funding abortions and not funding anything.

Shiner said...

Sorry, I suppose in this case that is the choice, but that's the problem, it shouldn't be.

sharonapple88 said...

Sharon.. I'm pro-choice. I think there are case, personally, where abortion is helpful.. but that being said, for the many, many women who don't fall in that category, isn't some help better than no help - even if it isn't as expansive as some might believe?

Wouldn't it be more helpful to have the doctor and patient decide when an abortion might or might not be helpful than to make a blanket decision not to deal with the topic of abortion at all?

We should also consider the fact that even though we will pull funding for medical abortions, it's not going to stop women from seeking them out. In the article I liked earlier about Nicaragua, the woman died of a back alley abortion for her ectopic pregnancy. From this report by a doctor working with Doctors without Borders in Liberia, where abortion is illegal, women also suffer the complications of illegal abortions. From the article:

"There was a steady steam of young women coming to the hospital hemorrhaging or with severe pelvic infections, and many were quite sick. For example, early one morning I was called to the hospital by a midwife to help treat one such patient. She was 16 years old and had had an abortion 2 days earlier somewhere in the city. She had become unresponsive at home and was brought to the hospital by her family. When I saw her she was febrile, hypotensive, and comatose with severe pyuria and pyometrium. Despite aggressive attempts at resuscitation, she died within a few hours of admission to the hospital. Elective abortions are illegal in Liberia but were common in nonclinical settings. Because of this episode and others like it, the MSF administration attempted to determine if there was a single site where these septic abortions were performed."

Complicated problem... I don't think there are any easy solutions.