OTTAWA, Ontario, October 19, 2011 ( – After a flurry of controversy over the news that Canada’s federal government allows women to receive full maternity benefits after procuring an abortion, Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are dodging questions about the policy.

LifeSiteNews reported in September that Canada’s employment insurance guidelines allow a woman who aborts her child after 19 weeks gestation to receive the full 17 weeks of maternity leave, and women who abort before 19 weeks to collect sick leave for the same length of time.

Minister Diane Finley did not respond at the time, but now Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has responded to LifeSiteNews’ direct questions about the issue with a broad statement on the government’s belief in the “importance of families.”


“This year alone the Government of Canada will provide choice in child care to 1.5 million families through the Universal Child Care Benefit,” they state.  “This is in addition to numerous tax savings for young families and investments in early childhood development.”

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HRSDC also noted that after birth, parents can obtain up to 35 weeks of parental benefits through EI “to bond with their child.”  But these parental benefits are distinct from the 17 weeks of maternity benefits that can only be used by the mother.

LifeSiteNews replied by pointing out that the HRSDC’s statement failed even to mention maternity benefits, the topic of the question, and asking again for a specific response regarding the policy.  Weeks later, HRSDC has failed to respond.

Some Conservative MPs have been telling concerned pro-lifers that the government does not provide maternity benefits but merely sick leave to women who have had abortions.  But this is belied by the government’s own policy, which states that they “consider any termination after the 19th week of pregnancy” to be eligible.

“This period is selected for two reasons: it reflects women’s actual experience that any termination after 19 weeks generally amounts to the same process as childbirth at term and she thus incurs the same health-related needs, and it is consistent with the eligibility period for maternity benefits under the Employment Insurance Act,” the policy reads.

The issue was first raised in 2008 by John Williamson, who served then as executive director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.  Williamson was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest in the May 2011 election.

At the time, Williamson said extending maternity benefits to a woman who aborted her child is “obscene” and a “perversion of the EI system.”

Find the government policy allowing maternity benefits to women who have aborted their child here.

Contact Information:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0A2
Fax: 613-941-6900
E-mail: [email protected]

Hon. Diane Finley
Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 996-4974
Fax: (613) 996-9749
E-mail: [email protected]

Find contact information for Members of Parliament here.