At a conference in La Paz, Bolivia on December 3, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed the importance of funding for international family planning. Rodham Clinton’s linked Republican-led international family planning cutoffs to increased maternal mortality rates in Central and South American as a result of illegal, unsafe abortions. There are nearly 400 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births compared to 8 deaths for every 100,000 births in the United States.
Clinton discussed the economic consequences of maternal mortality rate noting that Republican anti-abortion congress members cut U.S. AID support for family planning initiatives 35 percent last year. “I will share the powerful stories that I have heard here and elsewhere to explain why these programs are critical,” Rodham Clinton noted referring to women at a health clinic and a community bank she visited earlier in La Paz. Clinton later stated “East, West, North and South, there is a growing appreciation of women’s contributions in and outside the home – and a greater understanding that everyone in society benefits when women are allowed to claim the political, economic, social and civic power they are due.”
The conference, entitled “The Rights of Women and Children within the Framework of Sustainable Human Development,” included Rodham Clinton, Bolivia’s first lady Ximena Iturralde-Sanchez and other first ladies of the Americas. The theme of the sixth annual conference was devoted to the continuation of family planning and maternal health for women as well as the obliteration of poverty among women and children worldwide.