Friday, March 17, 2017

Canadian PM picks up the ball that Trump dropped

This was reported by Erin Schumaker on Huffington Post last week:

Even before he was inaugurated, President-Elect DJT stated that he would reinstate the " global gag rule," which prohibits organizations receiving U.S. federal aid from performing abortions or even from giving out information about abortions.   If they violate the rule, they can lose the U.S. aid, which cumulatively amounts to $600 million over a four year period.   The global gag shifts back and forth, depending on which U.S. political party is in power.

The Marie Stopes International abortion-providing organization estimates that, without U.S. aid, there would be 6.5 million unwanted pregnancies, 2.2 million abortions, and 21,700 deaths over four years.

This is the context in which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that Canada will contribute $650 million over the next three years for women's reproductive health services and for sex education around the world.   This plan will also address gender-based violence, genital mutilation and forced marriage, as well as providing safe and legal abortion and post-abortion care.

Other countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Cape Verde, have also made pledges to support these groups.

This is good for other countries to pick up the support of global health;  but it would have been so much better for them to be joining us in a humanitarian cause rather than making up for our abandoning the cause.   It's one more example of Trump abandoning our role as moral world leader.

The idea that reducing abortion access reduces abortions has proved itself wrong, again and again.   Studies by international women's health groups have shown that, when safe abortions are banned, women have unsafe abortions, often resulting in severe infections and sometimes death.

As an intern in a big city, charity hospital back in the late 1950s when abortion was illegal, before Roe v Wade, I saw these tragic cases coming in to the emergency room following unsafe abortions.   Massive, often-lethal infections, damaged reproductive systems that might never bear children again, and medical help always delayed too long because of the shame and the illegality of these back-room, unsterile abortions -- but sought by women desperate enough to take the risk.

What sane, humanitarian person would choose a policy to send us back to that?   Only two things have the clout to make that happen:   religion and politics.


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