Press Release

Recent study confirms GO white paper report

Human Rights Watch documents maternal mortality rate increase

A study released this week by Human Rights Watch, entitled “Stop
Making Excuses: Accountability for Maternal Health Care in South
Africa,” highlights nearly the same facts that a MCCL Global Outreach
white paper (“How South Africa is failing women and children”) stated
back in January.

Human Rights Watch is confirming what we have long known: Good quality
health care, and not abortion, is what will decrease maternal
mortality rates for the populace.  The Human Rights Watch 66-page
report details situations in which pregnant women were actually abused
by the very medical staff from which they sought help.

While the study does make reference on page 56 to a “Right to Life,”
the citation is made for the life of the woman and notes that this
right is to be interpreted in a “restrictive” manner.  The right to
life of the unborn child is not mentioned in the report.

“When government officials and health care advocates spend their days
pushing abortion on women, you are going to get more abortions,” said
MCCL GO Executive Director Scott Fischbach.  “If they change focus and
push quality health care, women and babies can live.  It’s pretty

Abortionwas made legal in South Africa with the implementation of the
Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1996.  In the year prior to
the legalization of abortion, 1,600 abortions were performed in the
country.  Since the law was changed, reported abortions have increased
to more than 80,000 per year, according to the most recent statistics
from the South African Office for National Statistics.

MCCL GO has called for a renewed emphasis on improving health care for
women as the only sure means of reducing maternal mortality.  Better
medical care, including antibiotics, sterile gloves and equipment,
improved obstetric and prenatal care, access to doctors and hospitals,
availability of birth attendants and better communications, is the
answer to problem of maternal mortality.

“Legal abortion only leads to more abortions, and, as a result, more
abortion-related complications for women,” Fischbach said.

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