CANADA/HEALTH - When a country like Canada or the United States contributes money to help legal safe abortion clinics overseas what they are really doing is saving lives.
Unsafe abortions (the kind you do with a coat hanger, etc) in third world countries have a 13% mortality rate, and are usually done by women who already have children thus resulting in their existing children becoming orphans.
Safe clinical abortions however have a 0% mortality rate and is one of the most important ways for planning childhood.
When women don't have the option for a safe abortion, they will inevitably pick an unsafe one.
Even in countries like Canada where abortion is legal... unsafe abortions still happen because sometimes young women like to keep it secret.
I know a woman from northern Ontario who had an unsafe abortion. Lets call her "E". E's parents were very religious and because of her age in order to have an abortion she needed parental permission. She didn't want to upset them so she arranged to have an unsafe abortion using a coathanger in her bathtub while her parents were away. She had kept the pregnancy a secret by wearing baggy clothes and putting on extra weight until the fetus was large enough to be removed using the coathanger technique.
"E" then buried the fetus in the woods.
"E" doesn't regret her decision. She was convinced her very strict religious parents would have killed her if they had known she was having sex and had gotten pregnant. They didn't even know she had a boyfriend, who later beat her up and ditched her.
So here's my point: If these kind of traumatic unsafe abortions are still in Canada, just imagine what its like in a third world country where food is scarce, crime is rampant and local governments allow abortion but can't afford to fund it?
Abortion is a women's right. It is a human right. Women are going to do it whether its legal or illegal, safe or unsafe. Religion isn't even a factor when you're desperate.
So when Stephen Harper, the Prime Minister of Canada, announces that Canada's foreign aid will no longer be used to fund clinics that provide abortions... what is he really doing? What he is doing is cutting off ALL funding to all clinics that provide anything meaningful in terms of condoms, advice, abortion, everything... Its an all or nothing scenario.
The end result is the only groups that would receive funding are ones that promote ABSTINENCE and preach that using condoms is a sin.
Abstinence doesn't work. Its a proven fact. People are going to have sex regardless, either because they want to or because they've been raped. These are third world countries and there isn't a lot else to do for fun and because of low educational standards it means they don't know the dangers of sex, how babies are made and possibly even have some superstitions about it.
Years ago I met a woman from China who thought only married couples have babies. She didn't even know what condoms were for because she thought people just used them for being kinky. She was coming from a reasonably educated country with a one-child-only policy. In theory she should have known what condoms were for but apparently didn't learn that until moving to Canada.
What third world countries need therefore is more sex education. And they also need the tools and funding to perform legal safe abortions in the event that fails to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Stephen Harper's recent cutting of funding for safe abortions shows his complete ignorance on the topic and a political bias rooted in fundamental Christianity wherein he thinks abstinence can actual work.
Abstinence is a great theory, it just doesn't work in practice.
Magnitude of the Problem
20 million women experience an unsafe abortion worldwide each year; 18.5 million of these occur in developing countries.
67 000 - 70 000 women die from complications of unsafe abortion each year - all in developing countries.
Nearly 60% of all unsafe abortions in Africa are among young women aged 15-24 years.
Open Letter to Anti-Abortionists
A Woman's Choice - The Right to Privacy and the Right to Choose