When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed billions of dollars to funding “reproductive health and rights” worldwide, we spoke out against this blatant use of Canadian tax dollars to push abortion on other countries. Not only would these countries rather have things like clean drinking water and liveable wages, but suggesting abortion as a solution can actually be viewed as an insult to cultures that value family far more than we apparently do.
Now, despite a party policy opposing the funding of abortion overseas, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has said he will do nothing to cut funding currently supporting abortion services in other countries.
In Toronto earlier this week, Andrew Scheer announced a foreign aid policy that would reduce foreign aid commitments in an attempt to balance the budget here at home. When asked if this would impact overseas funding for abortion, he stuck [https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-scheer-says-plans-to-cut-foreign-aid-wont-affect-funding-for-abortion/ ]by his tired line, and went even further:
“We are not reopening the debate at any level. …Groups that are receiving funding will continue to receive funding going into the future. This decision does not affect groups or programs going forward.”
This statement goes directly against the Conservative Party’s Maternal Health policy, policy 73. This policy explicitly pledges support for “initiatives designed to improve and protect women’s and children’s health and to reduce maternal death during pregnancy and delivery.” The policy goes on: “The focus will be to ensure provision of the necessities of life – clean water, appropriate nutrition, inoculations, basic medical care, and training of health care workers to care for women and to deliver babies. Abortion should be explicitly excluded from Canada’s maternal and child health program in countries where Canadian aid is delivered, since it is extremely divisive – and often illegal.” (emphasis added)
Scheer’s policy announcement should do nothing to assuage those on either side of the life issue. Either he doesn’t stand by his party’s policies when they don’t seem politically expedient, he doesn’t stand by his personal beliefs when they aren’t politically expedient – or both. Or maybe he just didn’t know his party’s policy, if that makes us feel any better?
The Conservatives seem to think that if they say they aren’t “reopening the debate” often enough, people might actually believe it’s not yet open. The fact is, though, the debate is wide open, and ongoing. All the political leaders and candidates need to decide how to engage in the debate, and it is our job as Canadians to get answers.
During this election season, continue using your voice through conversations with candidates, colleagues, family and friends. Foreign aid spending is an area where we should be picking and choosing, and abortion should never be chosen. Abortion is never necessary health care, and is neither pro-woman nor pro-child.
Stress the importance of speaking for life. Share how valuable all human life is, and how human rights should apply to all human beings. Let’s work together to continue changing hearts and minds so that we can share a future where no one will be able to get elected if they insist on treating pre-born children as a political liability.