Now, let me see, if I were 22 years old, with seven or eight kids to feed and clothe, with miles to walk every morning to just get water with which to wash clothes and cook some rice, the last thing my exhausted body and fragile family would need is another pregnancy -- or a dose of HIV.
But does the Harper government get that?
I've hit on this topic before, here, here, here, etc., about PM Stephen Harper's announcement two months ago on supporting maternal health at the coming G8 summit, and how he and his handmaiden international cooperation minister Bev Oda refuse to connect maternal health to family planning, access to contraception and condoms -- which means freedom from dying in childbirth, freedom from AIDS, which means, uh, maternal health. (Read this, if you have a sec.)
But they don't make those connections in TheoConWorld.
In the Commons on Wednesday, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda pointedly left birth control off the list of aid projects the government intended to support, saying that “saving lives” was more important than family planning.
“We have chosen to focus the world’s lenses on saving the lives of mothers and children,” Oda said. “When we know what we can do by providing clean water, vaccinations, better nutrition, as well as the most effective way is the training of health care workers and improving access for those women, that is what we are going to do.”
And on Tuesday, during a Commons committee hearing, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon made clear that the maternal-health priority “does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning.”
Liberals and New Democrats are incredulous, saying that this is a direct copy of the foreign aid policies of former U.S. president George W. Bush, who banned any support for aid organizations that supported abortion in developing countries for the eight years he was in office. Barack Obama reversed that ban within days of taking power last year.
That would be the so-called Global Gag Rule.
Liberal MP Keith Martin, also a doctor, said without providing access to a “full array” of family planning options, women and men can’t protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies.
“As a result, you have higher abortion rates, more disease, more maternal deaths and more maternal injuries,” Martin said.
He said he was “shocked” that the government took family planning off the table and accused the Conservatives of being hypocritical.
“They can’t say on the one hand they want to save lives . . . yet on the other, deprive people of having the tools to be able to reduce the death rate,” he said.
“The government is slaughtering good medical practice on the altar of ideology,” he said, adding that the government’s medical plan “defies science.
“In fact, it violates the ethics of good medical practice,” said Martin (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca).
But, with this government, it's not about good medical practice. It's about making women be fruitful and multiply, even if multiplying kills them and their children.
Status of women mannequin minister Helena Guergis is not standing up for real maternal health either, judging from this message track exchange with NDP MP Irene Mathyssen at Monday's committee meeting.
Ms. Irene Mathyssen: What role will you play in the Prime Minister's G8 maternal and child health initiative, if any, and are you at all concerned by the fact that money for women and children in this country has not appreciably increased in regard to maternal health and child health?
Hon. Helena Guergis: I will play whatever role it is that the Prime Minister is defining for me in this process, happily, and I'm very proud and honoured to be a part of that process.
Memo to the HarperCons: Read a book, maybe a science book, or a medical text.
Just not the ''Good Book.''
(Image from Save the Mothers.)
UPPITY WOMAN DATE: Susan has some late night thoughts.