Sunday, June 02, 2013

C-Fam: "Reproductive" Imperialism

Women Deliver Conference: Rich Women vs. Poor

Here is an abridged version:

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 (C-FAM) .... A billionaire and a princess graced the stage to tell nurses and clean water advocates that any effort to help poor women is secondary to giving them contraception and abortion. ....

And with that, the sharp divide became apparent between first-world activists who want a universal right to abortion and the poor women they believe should have fewer children.

....Attendees complained this year’s conference offered no program to address maternal mortality except to enhance midwives to be trained to provide abortion.

Millions of women and girls are isolated and stigmatized because they lack menstruation hygiene. Advocates for clean water have taken up their cause. “Menstrual hygiene is a core sexual and reproductive right” they said.

WaterAid repeatedly asked Women Deliver organizers to highlight the issue in a plenary session.  They were ignored.

Instead, they were allotted an after-hours slot for a workshop.

Each year, 4 million people – mostly women and children – die from exposure to smoke from traditional cookstoves. Non-communicable diseases like diarrhea claim 1.4 million lives. Half of them are children. These received scant attention at Women Deliver.

In the Cinema Corner at the back of an exhibit hall, a Kenyan doctor came seeking help with a documentary he produced. It shows how women are dying during childbirth due to cultural taboos and superstitions that keep women from going to hospitals to deliver their babies. No conference convener was present during his presentation.

.... Senegal is stocking village clinics’ empty shelves with various forms of contraceptives. .... Gates campaign employs a public/private business model of buying mass quantities of products, creating efficient distribution to far-reaching areas, with the guaranteed revenue of government budget commitments.

A Women Deliver participant noted $8 billion a year goes to family planning and advocates are demanding more. Yet “they don’t want to share it” with other causes. “And they don’t want to give any other group a platform that will distract from expanding abortion.”

ADDITIONAL READING: Reproductive Rights and Wrongs, by Betsy Hartmann. Though it's an older book it remains relevant and should be required reading for anybody who cares about the treatment of women in developing countries. Hartman is prochoice, so readers need not fear they will encounter any "antichoice" thought. The page provides an extensive preview. You can read even more of it at Google Books.

Though originally written to counter the presumption that population control must be pushed on poor women, the observations remain relevant even though population control programs are decked out in the trappings of "reproductive health."

Visit the author's page here.


Cecilia said...

Get this!! The Women Deliver conference has invited an Indian politician to be a speaker at the conference, whose name is J.S. Kurien. This man has been accused of participating in the gang rape of a teenage girl in India. He's used his political clout to prevent prosecution for himself and to harrass the victim's family out of their house and jobs.
This is who the Women Deliver conference invited from India. When it was brought to their attention what this man did to a girl in his home country, they just said they hadn't known. But as of this time, they haven't disinvited him. Apparently being a rapist isn't enough to get you much disapproval at Women Deliver.
Why??? Is it because he can help their abortion cause? These people have no interest in doing anything for third world women, except to shove abortion down their throat. They don't want to help the third world people get clean water or better food, or any medical care that's not abortion related. And now we find they don't mind working with rapists.
What great friends of women the Women Deliver conference has!!! Maybe they aren't such great friends of women either.

Christina Dunigan said...

Appalling but not surprising.