Editor’s note. One of NRLC’s important outreach programs is Hispanics for Life. To further that outreach, on page 15 National Right to Life News is translating a story about an important award–the International Protect Life Award–into Spanish.
On March 26, the first-ever International Protect Life Award was presented to the people of Chile for their exceptional efforts in helping to protect the lives and improve the health of Chilean women. The award recognized Chile for having achieved the lowest maternal mortality rate in all of Latin America, and for constitutional and other legal protections and public policies that protect and care for the mother and her preborn child.
President Sebastian Piñera accepted the award on behalf of the people of Chile in Santiago, Chile, at a special ceremony organized by the Office of the President in the context of Chile’s International Day of the Unborn Child. Dan Zeidler of the Latin American Alliance for the Family presented the award on behalf of the leaders of over 30 United Nations Non Governmental Organizations.
He expressed appreciation for Chile’s outstanding programs protecting mothers and their unborn children. “More Chilean women have safely delivered their babies than ever before!” Zeidler said. “This is a great advancement in the area of women’s health, and an example for other countries working to achieve the reduction of maternal mortality, a key element of the UN Millennium Development Goals.”
Julia Cardenal of El Salvador, one of the members of the International Protect Life Committee which sponsored the award, emphasized, “Improving maternal health by respecting all human life is key for all countries that want real development.”
This milestone was achieved because of the efforts of the government and people of Chile. This nation has made it a priority to invest in its women and children by creating a multi-faceted approach to reducing maternal mortality.
One especially interesting component of the government’s pro-life educational efforts is its “Chile Crece Contigo” (Chile Grows with You) campaign. The campaign includes television spots that feature a strong pro-life message that focuses on prenatal care, as it promotes the well being of young children five years and younger, including the child before birth.
President Piñera has recently announced a new complementary program called “Comprometidos por La Vida” (Committed to Life), which will make many resources available to women who are facing a crisis pregnancy.
Jeanne E. Head, R.N., vice president for international affairs and United Nations representative for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, a sponsor of the award, commented, “As an experienced obstetric nurse I can confirm that Chile’s positive programs providing health care and assistance for mother and child put a lie to the claim that legal abortion is needed to save women’s lives.” Head continued, “The delightful videos produced by the government show a commitment to promoting protection of the lives of both mother and child.”
Abortion is illegal in Chile; mother and baby are equal under the law. Maternal mortality continued to decrease after abortion was prohibited in 1989 and there are NO reported maternal deaths related to abortion in Chile.
The award is a way for pro-life leaders working in the international realm to hold up and shine a bright light on Chile’s achievements at a very critical time in the abortion battle. The United Nations and many of that organization’s agencies, such as UNFPA and UNICEF—as well as International Planned Parenthood—incorrectly assert that abortion is the panacea for many of the world’s problems, tragically (and erroneously) including it as a way to reduce maternal mortality.
President Piñera on a number of occasions has reiterated that “… the position of our government is always going to be the defense of life. We’re never going to be in favor of any measure whose objective is to kill the life of the child before birth.”