Take Action: G8 Maternal Health Initiative

Actually, Contraception DOES Save Lives

Two weeks ago, the Harper government announced an intention to make maternal health one of its top priorities during the G8/G20 Meetings that will be hosted in Canada this spring.  This announcement was swiftly followed by disclaimers from two cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Harper himself that it ““[i]t does not deal in any way, shape or form with family planning. Indeed, the purpose of this is to be able to save lives…”

 As a result of the initial outcry, the government has backtracked somewhat, and now says that it will not "close the door" to family planning and contraception.  This flatly contradicts previous statements about the initiative, which explicitly excluded contraception.

Family planning and contraception have STILL not been specifically included or prioritized within the initiative.  Last week, an Opposition motion specifically calling for the "full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health options, including contraception" in the G8 maternal and child health initiative was defeated.

 

More info: http://www.acpd.ca/node/63

 

TAKE ACTION!

There's still more G8/G20 meetings to go!  It is important to let your officials know that access to the full range of contraceptive options and safe abortion is part of maternal health.

 

We urge you to write a letter to:

your MP: find their contact info here: http://bit.ly/ALtvf

Prime Minister Stephen Harper: pm@pm.gc.ca

Minister for International Cooperation Bev Oda: Oda.B@parl.gc.ca

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca

 

Sample

Dear So and So,

I am writing in regards to the government’s proposed family and maternal health initiative, which is a stated priority for the 2010 G8-G20.

Despite this promising goal, the Canadian government helps no one by expressing a weak and ambivalent position on the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning, contraception and abortion.

 Evidence shows that access to family planning could prevent as many as one in every three maternal deaths by allowing women to delay motherhood, space births, avoid unsafe abortions, and stop childbearing when they have reached their desired family size. Each year, 600,000 women die from unsafe abortion alone.  After giving birth, family planning can help women wait a healthy period of time before trying to become pregnant again, thereby reducing newborn, infant and child deaths significantly.

 Doubtless for this and similar reasons were the motivation when, just last year, all G8 leaders endorsed the Consensus for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.  The consensus stipulates that “comprehensive family planning advice, services and supplies” are critical to improving maternal, newborn and child health.

Canada must remain true to both its commitments and the realities facing mothers in the developing world.  I urge you to prioritize funding for contraception and abortion as part of the G8 conversations over the coming months.  [As a volunteer with Planned Parenthood Ottawa, I have seen first had the difference access to sexual health information and services can make in the life of a young person.  How much more pressing is it for those who do not have our resources!]

 

Sincerely,

 

Your Name