European Tories on maternal mortality

I got a Facebook message from the ‘Labour Campaign for a Fourth Term’ group – it’s from Glenys Kinnock, about the response of some Tory MEPs to her resolution urging an EU action plan to meet the fifth UN Millennium Development Goal to cut global maternal deaths by 75%. It’s another example of the real, scandalously anti-woman priorities of the Conservative Party – please note two of these MEPs are Tory parliamentary candidates as well.

“…I unfortunately see how Cameron’s Conservatives work on a daily basis here in Brussels.

Last month, their Tory MEPs voted against EU action to stop half a million women dying needlessly each year in pregnancy or childbirth.

Nine of the Tory group in Brussels – including two Tory candidates for the next UK general election – failed to support a resolution I co-authored urging a targeted and properly financed EU action plan to meet the fifth UN Millennium Development Goal to cut global maternal deaths by 75%.

Christopher Beazley, Martin Callanan, Nirj Deva, Den Dover, Chris Heaton-Harris, Sajjad Karim, Timothy Kirkhope, Robert Sturdy and Charles Tannock all voted against the action.

They had previously sought to remove all references to abortion and women’s sexual and reproductive health rights from the resolution, despite the fact that 19% of all maternal deaths result from unsafe abortions.

While Cameron puts himself up as the quintessential family man, his party in Europe voted to deny that same chance of family life to hundreds of thousands of the world’s poorest women.

Of course, it’s alright for Cameron – he has money and choices, but what about the grieving children whose mothers have died giving birth in agony because there’s no anaesthetic? What about the women who haemorrhage to death because there’s not the simple and cheap medicine to save them?

The Tories have tied themselves up in knots over the wording of this resolution rather than getting behind what is essential and urgent action to end the scandal of maternal mortality.

I’m not interested in the semantics. What concerns me is avoiding the millions of unnecessary deaths.

To vote against action to stop mums dying is simply callous and exposes Cameron’s Conservatives for what they are. The fact is that the Tories’ family-friendly spin is just hollow rhetoric.

Thankfully other MEPs aren’t as callous as the Tories and we managed to pass the resolution by 394 votes to 182.

That’s why I’m backing Go Fourth and that’s why we need your help to spread the word and prepare to fighting in next June’s European elections. As you can see, it’s vital to expose the truth about Cameron’s so-called ‘compassionate conservatism.’

So thank you so much for joining us. Get your friends involved too. Ask them to join this group and register at”

Absolutely scandalous. Trying to remove references to womens’ right to choose shows ridiculous ignorance of the reality of maternal mortality; but then, having failed to do this, they actually voted against a resolution to do something about the 1400 women who die every year in pregnancy or childbirth. Criminal.


2 thoughts on “European Tories on maternal mortality

  1. This is complete nonsense trying to smear those Conservative MEPS as somehow “anti family” because they wish reference to abortion to be removed from the motion! Most of them are married and a number of them have several children. What I think most of them have in common is a revulsion towards abortion which their consciences believe to be the taking of the life of an unborn child.

  2. I didn’t say a word about them being anti-family, I said they were anti-women. Unlike the Tory MEPs and their lucky families, women who don’t have access to contraception OR to adequate healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth could be saved by the hundred if they had access to abortion or even to sexual health services – don’t forget they wanted to remove ALL reference to women’s sexual and reproductive health rights from the resolution, not just reference to abortion.

    Even aside from all that, once they’d been defeated on their crusade to save foetuses, might they have found it in their hearts to feel some revulsion at the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of women, and the unnecessary orphaning of hundreds of children who HAVE been born, and voted in favour of an action plan to do something about it, regardless of the bits of the resolution they didn’t like?

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