Anti-choice publication LifeNews reports that with Obama’s appointments of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State and Susan Rice to U.S. Ambassador to the UN, anti-choice leaders are fearful that the U.S. government will add abortion to the Millennium Development Goals (a set of eight goals agreed upon by the world’s governments) as an "international human right."
Lifenews reporter Steven Ertelt writes that Planned Parenthood is happy with Clinton in her new role because she, along with Rice, supports access to reproductive health care, including abortion, globally. Ertelt then notes that Clinton and Rice may play a role in adding abortion to the MDGs when, in fact, "there is no mention of reproductive health" in the Millennium Development Goals.
Unfortunately for anti-choice advocates, Ertelt is wrong.
Reproductive health is clearly and openly mentioned in the MDGs as a critical component of improving maternal health globally. The fifth of eight Millennium Development Goals is to improve maternal health. Two targets make up that goal: reduce by 3/4 the maternal mortality rate; and, according to the United Nations site about the MDG campaign, "achieve universal access to reproductive health care." This target clearly states, "an unmet need for family planning undermines achievement of several other goals."
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Not only do the MDGs directly address the importance of reproductive health in the target areas for the maternal mortality goal, but the latest report on the MDGs mentions unsafe abortion as a factor in maternal death.
On a larger scale, all major global health organizations recognize the role safe abortion plays in saving women’s health and lives. The World Heath Organization makes the direct link between unsafe abortion and achievement of the fifth millennium development goal, in fact.
As Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood notes in her post on this site, Senator Clinton has championed global women’s health throughout her career but has made the direct link between the health of a nation, poverty, women’s status around the world, and access to family planning in the past:
reproductive health and empowerment are critical to a nation’s
sustainability and growth … we now know that no nation can hope to
succeed in the global economy of the 21st century if half of its people
lack the opportunity and the right to make the most of their God-given
potential. No nation can move forward when its women and children are
trapped in endless cycles of poverty; when they have inadequate health
care, poor access to family planning, limited education."
It is no secret that Clinton and Susan Rice both understand the connections to be made between global poverty, human rights and foreign policy. So, yes, one hopes that they will both put their broad knowledge to work in chipping away at the Millennium Development Goals – a set of goals that the global community understands is about the intersections of poverty, gender inequity, maternal & child mortality, access to health care and the ways in which tackling one of these goals helps to tackle the others.
It seems everyone is in agreement about this, except for the anti-choice community, unfortunately.