Women Deliver: A Global Conference is scheduled for October 18-20, 2007 in London, England. The website delivers some quite sobering information on maternal/child health in global perspective. According to the online fact sheet "Unfortunate Facts of Life":
- More than 536,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth every year. That is one every minute, or 10 million per generation – about the same as in 1987.
- Fully 42 percent of all pregnancies everywhere experience a complication. In 15 percent of all pregnancies, the complications are life-threatening.
- Fewer than one in 16,400 women will die in pregnancy or childbirth in the ten top-ranked countries; but one in seven will die in Niger, at the bottom of the list.
- This rich-poor disparity is the largest among all the public health indicators tracked by the World Health Organization.
- The poorer the household, the greater the risk of maternal death: 99 percent of maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
Ms. Turn the Clock Forward has already given an excellent analysis of the ways that abortion politics, on both "sides," hinder cooperation on and resolution of these giant, vital, life-and-death issues. So I won't repeat that, except to underscore the impertinent questions that folks like us constantly, pestiferously pose:
What stops so many good-hearted, action-bent people--whether they define themselves as prolife or prochoice--from completelyrecognizing and honoring both the lives and wellbeing of pregnant women and their fetuses, who after all are so profoundly interconnected, no matter how much anyone tries to sever them apart?
What immeasurably good things could and would happen next if they could get past this seemingly intractable obstacle to the realization of full human rights?