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.”
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 Amazon.com 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.