Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues…

Opinions: MDGs

Abortion Undermines MDG Targets

“The overarching and noble goal [of this week’s Millennium Development Goal (MDG) summit in New York] is reducing global poverty. But the most compelling and achievable objectives – huge reductions in maternal and child mortality worldwide – will be severely undermined if the Obama administration either directly or covertly integrates abortion into the final outcome document,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) writes in a Washington Post opinion piece.

“If the summit is sidetracked by abortion activists, the robust resolve required at national levels to deploy the funds needed to achieve the internationally agreed targets will be compromised,” according to Smith, who writes that abortion is “infant mortality,” which would negatively affect progress towards MDG 4. “There is nothing benign or compassionate about procedures that dismember, poison, induce premature labor or starve a child to death. Indeed, the misleading term ‘safe abortion’ misses the point that no abortion – legal or illegal – is safe for the child and that all are fraught with negative health consequences, including emotional and psychological damage, for the mother.”

Smith also addresses MDG 5, aimed at cutting maternal mortality rates: “We have known for more than 60 years what actually saves women’s lives: skilled attendance at birth, treatment to stop hemorrhages, access to safe blood, emergency obstetric care, antibiotics, repair of fistulas, adequate nutrition, and pre- and post-natal care.” He concludes, “We must affirm, respect and tangibly assist the precious lives of women and all children, including the unborn” (9/19).

MDG Summit Of ‘Monumental Importance’; Focus On Effectiveness, Transparency

This week’s MDG summit is “one whose monumental importance is matched only by its minuscule brand recognition,” writes Bono in a New York Times opinion piece.

Bono discusses gains and “headwinds” in achieving the MDGs, writing: “Tens of millions more kids are in school thanks to debt cancellation. Millions of lives have been saved through the battle against preventable disease, thanks especially to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. … At the same time, the struggles of places like Congo remind us of the distance left to travel.”

The column presents “three near-term tests of our commitment to the MDGs”: expand projects that are “[e]nergetic, efficient, effective,” like the Global Fund; focus on governance to lower corruption and increase transparency; and “[d]emand clarity; measure inputs and outputs.” He concludes, “We have a lot to prove, but if the MDG agreement had not been made in 2000, much less would have happened than has happened. Already, we’ve seen transformative results for millions of people whose lives are shaped by the priorities of people they will never know or meet” (9/18).

MDG Officials Should Consider New Data On Investing In Poorest Areas

A New York Times editorial calls on MDG summit leaders to take a “serious look” at new UNICEF research that shows aiding the world’s poorest children is “not only just, it is also more cost-effective than the current policy of mainly helping the less poor in areas that are easier to reach.”

The logic of the research “appears sound,” the newspaper writes. “If the goal is to significantly reduce child deaths, providing more health services to regions where far larger numbers of children are dying – even if the delivery is more expensive – should show greater, more cost-effective results.”

Noting that the difference in child mortality rates between the rich and poor has grown or remained unchanged in 18 of the 26 countries UNICEF studied, the editorial concludes, “UNICEF officials do not want to completely abandon the old approach. They are arguing that the new data proves that there is a better chance of reaching the [MDGs] – the deadline is 2015 – if more of that aid is invested in desperately poorer areas” (9/18).

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

www.kff.org | Email Alerts: kff.org/email | facebook.com/KaiserFamilyFoundation | twitter.com/KaiserFamFound

Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.