I received an email from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, that I felt compelled to share with everyone; especially as we celebrate Mother’s Day. In it, Richards notes that the same people behind the attacks on Planned Parenthood in the United States are doing the same thing — attempting to cut health care funding, increase barriers to reproductive health care, and more — to women and mothers in countries all over the world.
Days after voting to bar Planned Parenthood health center funding in the US, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) traveled to Kenya and criticized Kenya’s new constitution for allowing abortions in cases when the health of the mother is threatened. Mind you, this is a country where mothers die in childbirth more often than most other countries.
This is just one example of many of how our opponents export their extreme agenda to other countries; especially under-developed nations. It’s equally critical to fight them outside of our borders and inside. Richards notes that the best way to do so is to support the amazing and courageous work by people who dedicate their lives to helping women and families. who face incomprehensible daily challenges, receive quality reproductive health care for themselves and their children.
Dr. Linda Valencia works in Guatemala, where a high fertility rate and abject poverty leave many women with few healthy options. In 2002, Dr. Valencia was called into surgery for a woman in septic shock. ” She pleaded with me not to let her die.” The woman washed clothes for a living, had seven children at home, and had an illegal abortion. The infection they found in her body was massive and horrific, and she died a few hours later.
In Guatemala, as in many Latin American countries, dangerous, backroom, illegal abortions are a leading cause of maternal death. Working as part of Planned Parenthood’s International Program, Dr. Valencia is determined to put a stop to this tragic reality. “She’s never left my thoughts,” says Dr. Valencia of the woman described above.
In order to offer comprehensive family planning services to women isolated villages, Planned Parenthood-trained midwives and health educators travel over rough terrains by foot and then spend hours with just a few patients. And then, they’ll turn around and head to another village the next day. Again, on foot. Again, to reach just a few patients.
That’s what it takes to save lives and empower women and mothers. And that’s why its outrageous that a few politicians in the US want to stop this kind of work. Do something special this Mother’s Day. Log onto Planned Parenthood and give your support to help women be healthy, plan families safely and more.