At the G8 meeting in Halifax, Canada stated clearly that is will not be including abortion in its maternal and child health plans at the G8 meetings in Huntsville, including any funding of abortions. This could set off a potential impasse with other countries, including the U.S., which lifted the Bush administration ban on funding abortion in its development projects. The U.S., which is likely to tread lightly given its own highly organized anti-abortion groups, has said it will not cause a U.S./Canada split.
There is an excellent op-ed in the Globe and Mail today, taking the Harper government to task ‘bad policy’ on its maternal health initiative: “by refusing to fund abortions… the Conservative government is effectively saying only women who become mothers are worthy of complete health care…
It further argues that: “the maternal health initiative embeds these ideas in public policy. If you are a good woman, a woman who mothers, you will be rewarded with health care. If not, if you dare to be a non-mother, necessary health care will be withheld. In fact, the refusal to provide comprehensive health care to such a woman can be interpreted as punishment for being a bad woman.” Harper’s top-down do-good plans at the G8 seem more and more like a platform for his ideology.
I suspect there won’t be a lot done on maternal health when all is said and done in Huntsville, and there certainly won’t be any fundamental economic changes which are at the heart of poor health.
As I mentioned in an earlier posting, health care solutions (though they are important) that don’t acknowledge the sources of poverty and poor health are not nearly enough. Medicalized, band-aid solutions have been proposed for years, and poor health is as rampant as ever. But anything that might question globalization’s own role in this economic precariousness is surely off the G8 discussion table (and far away in another room).