Editor’s note. The following was released Friday.
NEW YORK, N.Y. — The 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development took place this week at the United Nations. Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Global Outreach (MCCL GO), a U.N.-accredited non-governmental organization, encouraged delegates to prioritize the improvement of maternal health care rather than promote the legalization of abortion.
The meeting sought to assess the implementation of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which was adopted in Cairo in 1994. The Program of Action calls for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity, among other goals. It does not call for the legalization or expansion of abortion.
Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of MCCL GO, addressed the full assembly of nations on Friday.
“We can save women’s lives with prenatal and antenatal care, skilled birth attendants, emergency obstetric care, basic sanitation and clean water,” he stated. “These measures helped lead to a 47 percent decline in maternal deaths worldwide from 1990 to 2010, according to estimates. Now they must be extended to the places where basic health care is still lacking.”
International abortion advocacy groups, including Ipas and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, argued that abortion must be legalized worldwide to protect women’s health. “That is not true,” Fischbach noted. “Maternal health depends on the quality of maternal health care, not on the legal status or availability of abortion. Countries such as Ireland, Chile and Malta prohibit most or all abortions and have a very low incidence of maternal mortality.”
MCCL GO also distributed brochures explaining the inherent risks of abortion. “Legalized abortion is often touted as beneficial to women, but a wealth of medical and psychological evidence suggests otherwise,” Fischbach said. “Legal or illegal, abortion poses both short-term and long-term risks to the physical health of women. It can also seriously affect their mental health.”
MCCL GO urged U.N. delegates to avoid pushing abortion as the international community looks to formulate a new global development agenda. “Legalizing abortion does nothing to address the underlying issue of poor health care,” Fischbach told the assembly. “Member states should reject all efforts to legalize or promote abortions and instead focus on maternal health care and healthy reproductive outcomes.”
Fischbach’s remarks are online at the U.N.’s video page at the 2:39:14 mark.
A written statement submitted by MCCL GO and circulated at the U.N. is available online in English and five other languages.
MCCL GO is a pro-life NGO global outreach program of the Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life Education Fund.