Babies are not blessings? A reply to Ana Santos of Rappler

A newborn baby glistening in amniotic fluid (Wikipedia)

A newborn baby glistening in amniotic fluid (Wikipedia)

Ana Santos of Rappler wrote a piece entitled, “Babies are not blessings.” Santos quotes the figures related to having babies as given by Dr. Emma Llanto of UP-PGH and Society of Adolescent Medicine in the Philippines. ┬áThe whole article hinges on the definition of a the word “blessing,” so let us examine Santos’ understanding of this word by dissecting her statements one by one.

Research proposal to verify 11 maternal deaths per year in response to Sen. Sotto’s challenge

If one of the primary issues to be addressed by the RH Bill is maternal and infant mortality, can we really get good data on this and not depend on Guttmacher Institute which was founded by Guttmacher, the president of Planned Parenthood–the largest abortion provider in the world? You already see the research bias of GI. I don’t know what data is available (the more the better), so I’ll just make the following proposal:

1. Get data from each hospital regarding the women who successfully gave birth and those who were not. We need the following data: age, married or not, number of children, ward type (to determine income level), and how long the woman stayed in the ward. We need data on how many died trying to give birth to a child and how many have children who died prior to birth or a week after birth. We need data on what the doctor says is the cause of death of the mother or of the child. Is the woman using artificial contraceptive or not? What type and how frequent (the last two are difficult data to get)2. We need data on hospitals and health centers where the birth or maternal death took place: medical centers, provincial hospitals, etc. We need to know their complete address to know whether they are rural or in the city. We need to know the daily costs per stay in a particular ward. This would help us determine the income bracket of the mother.

3. We can make several correlations and answer several questions: 1. Do more mothers die in rural hospitals than in city hospitals per 100 births? 2. What is the most prevalent cause of maternal mortality? 3. Do poor mothers tend to die more per 100 births than rich mothers? What is the most prevalent cause of infant mortality?

4. We need data at least for one year. If we can get data for more than 1 year, we can normalize our results to the population growth rate.

5. Based on these results we can make recommendations on how to lower maternal and infant mortality rates. Hospital administrators can make policies and legislators can make laws to address these specific problems.

6. We can start with one hospital who can give us data that we need. Write a paper about our research findings. Then add another hospital and improve the methodology, and write another report, and so on. The 11 maternal deaths per day may be true or not true, but we need the reasons why and the actual numbers. We need a real social science to answer the challenge of Sen. Sotto to verify the 11 maternal deaths per day.

If somebody wishes to collaborate on this herculean task, I can help in the research design, data analysis, and paper writing. But I need real data.