Women Deliver: Panel Pushes 'Harm Reduction' as Effective 'Facade' for Dismantling Pro-Life Laws
Top theme of conference: "unsafe abortion" the "most important cause" of maternal mortality
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By Kathleen Gilbert
Special Report From Washington Women Deliver conference
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 9, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Wedesday panel at the 2010 Women Deliver conference provided a fascinating peek into the pro-abortion lobby's logical gymnastics regarding their "harm-reduction" strategy for advancing abortion worldwide. While saying the strategy treats the choice of abortion as "value-neutral" in order to push the provision of better abortion facilities, the panelists went on to admit that the method was little more than a "facade" to push their own "value" of expanded abortion.
A real-world analysis of the harm-reduction strategy was provided by Leonel Priozzo, Director of Strategic Programming for Uruguay's Ministry of Health, who described how the "harm reduction" mantra had helped changed the country's attitude toward abortion.
Priozzo briefly claimed that "unsafe abortion was the most important cause" of maternal mortality - the top theme of the Women Deliver conference. However, as confirmed by a crucial Lancet study released in April, pro-life leaders have repeatedly said that illegal abortion has little if anything to do with maternal mortality, which is most heavily dependent on other factors such as average income and trained medical professionals aiding at birth.
Despite the altruistic introduction, the remainder of Priozzo's presentation, and those of the other panelists, focused heavily on using the strategy simply to change the social and political climate in favor of abortion.
Priozzo revealed figures showing that, under his counrty's harm-reduction model, over half (55%) the women coming to the agency eventually choose to kill thier unborn child while only 21% follow up to say they will keep their baby. 13.8% do not follow up.
"The political target of our harm reduction model is important," he noted, "and in this decade, our model advanced to force legal change by means of less resistance." Priozzo attributed the harm-reduction approach to the Uruguay Congress approving in 2008 a bill legalizing abortion, which was vetoed by president Tabare Vazquez.
Dr. Joanne Csete, an associate professor at Columbia University, took the notion in a broader strategic context, defining harm reduction as "the idea that we will focus on the harms of this behavior, in this case the health-related harms, but we will not so much worry about the behavior itself," and "will not judge the behavior" or "worry about whether people abstain eventually from the behavior or not."
Csete said that a good model to follow for applying "harm reduction" to abortion was the UN's strategy for illegal drug use, which has prompted the organization to fund the distribution of clean needles for drug users. In another example, she bashed the 12-step approach to overcoming harmful behavior, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, for moralizing and having "done a very good job of convincing people that God is on their side." Csete claimed that simply controlling the timing and type of alcohol consumption is enough to "stabilize the lives of a lot of people who live with alcohol dependency."