Maternal Health Initiative
Funding programs for family planning and maternal health should be a priority.
Church and Society’s maternal health initiative strives for a world in which the inherent dignity of every woman and girl is valued, every pregnancy is a cause for joy and not fear, and every family experiences abundant life.
We aim to educate and advocate both within and beyond The United Methodist Church for funding, programs and policies that support access to maternal health and voluntary family planning services around the world.
For Church and Society, saving the lives of mothers and babies is a priority that should not be negotiable. As is helping people stay healthy throughout their reproductive years.
The United Methodist Church believes that “healthcare is a basic human right.” (Social Principles, ¶162.V) We affirm the right of men and women to have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services that will serve as a means to prevent unplanned pregnancies, reduce abortions, and prevent the spread of HIV.
“The main causes of maternal mortality include infection, hemorrhaging, high blood pressure, and obstructed labor. They are mostly preventable … Globally, more than 200 million women would like to avoid or delay pregnancy, but lack access to modern contraceptive services.” (Book of Resolutions, 3203)
In response, Church and Society launched a campaign leading up to Mother’s Day focused on the many ways we can save mothers’ lives. Listening to the experiences of United Methodist health care professionals and ministries, we are working to ensure access to quality care by investing our resources well and ending racism.
The United Methodist Church supports access to contraceptives (family planning) because they provide women and men with the ability to plan how, when and how many children to have. It enables women to plan their pregnancies, have healthy babies, and avoid unwanted pregnancies and to stay healthy and alive. Access to family planning services leads to the wellbeing of families, educated communities, and improves economic conditions of families and nations.
Three Things You Can Do:
- Advocacy Training
- The Maternal Health Initiative provides continuous education on the intersectionality of issues through webinars, theological resources, and in-person training. Equipping United Methodists to advocate with elected officials is vital to obtaining adequate funding for family planning efforts around the globe.
- Legislative Advocacy
- Working in coalition with faith-based and secular partners, maternal health ambassadors conduct direct advocacy with staff and Congressional members on specific bills. Church and Society maintains regular contact with Congressional staff members in targeted districts and on specific committees to gather information and educate them on United Methodist support of family planning and maternal health efforts.
- Grassroots Advocacy
- Maternal health ambassadors organize events to increase consciousness and equip additional leaders, preach sermons, write articles, and advocate with their elected officials for better funding and policies for global maternal health. Events are hosted in local communities, sometimes in collaboration with a member of Congress.
Contact Susan Burton for more information.
What is family planning?
Family planning is the ability for women and men to plan how, when and how many children to have. It enables women to plan their pregnancies, have healthy babies, and avoid unwanted pregnancies and to stay healthy and alive. Access to family planning services leads to the wellbeing of families, educated communities, and improves economic conditions of families and nations. Research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute and UNFPA shows that access to contraceptives and other family planning services to all women who need it would save women; lead to 22 million fewer unplanned births; 25 million fewer induced abortions; and seven million fewer miscarriages.
Sadly, every day, 830 women die, and 2.9 million newborns die annually from complications during pregnancy or childbirth, and millions sustain serious life-long injuries. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths occur in the developing world because of lack of access to family planning.
For Church and Society, saving the lives of mothers and babies is a priority that should not be negotiable. As is helping people stay healthy throughout their reproductive age.
Family planning measures are proven mechanisms to reduce poverty, empower women economically, and improve equality among participants in society.
Maternal health ambassadors
Maternal health ambassadors help to advance maternal health advocacy efforts in their annual conferences. If you are interested in becoming an ambassador, contact Susan Burton.
For more information on maternal health and family planning, visit:
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