Canadian money won't go to abortion for war rape victims: Paradis
Published Friday, October 4, 2013 2:54PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 4, 2013 8:10PM EDT
The federal government will not fund overseas projects that give victims of rape during war or child brides access to abortions, International Development Minister Christian Paradis said Friday.
After a meeting of the Canadian Network on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Paradis said the government will continue with the funding guidelines it announced at the G8 summit in Muskoka three years ago.
In pledging $3 billion for maternal and child health initiatives at the close of the summit, Harper said projects that provide abortion services would be excluded because there were so many other important projects to support.
"We've been clear in Muskoka, so you can think the same logic will apply here," Paradis said Friday.
"There are plenty of measures that can be taken and Muskoka demonstrated that and we'll follow it in a consistent way with Muskoka."
Back in 2010, the head of the Canadian International Development Agency, Margaret Biggs, said that although Canada does not directly fund abortion programs, funding could go to agencies that provide referrals for abortion services.
And last month, Harper expressed Canada’s support for a range of initiatives by the United Nations to combat sexual violence and forced marriages.
On Friday, the opposition parties accused the federal government of following ideology rather than science to develop policy.
“He is allowing ideology to stand in the way of decision-making based on good scientific evidence and on all of the spectrum of reproductive health programs that women should be able to avail themselves of,” Liberal health critic Hedy Fry told CTV’s Power Play.
On the question of whether the federal government should fund abortion services in countries where abortion is not legal, Fry said: “It should be allowable where it’s legal.”
“He should allow what can happen in certain countries to happen, and let that decision-making be done based on the needs of the patient and on what that country allows,” Fry said.
NDP MP Jean Crowder told Power Play that the policy does not support the prime minister’s claims that maternal health is a priority. She also noted that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spoke out against child marriages during a speech at the UN last week.
“The women on the ground, the service providers on the ground, are in the best position to know what they should be doing,” Crowder said. “This government is simply taking another run at its not-very-well-hidden approach to abortion services.”
Harper has said repeatedly that he has no desire to re-open the abortion debate in Canada.
Paradis said Friday that the federal government will reveal in the coming months what steps it will take to help curb sexual violence and forced marriages.