Tuesday March 23, 2010

Canadian Pro-Life Victory: Liberal Abortion Motion Defeated

By John-Henry Westen and John Jalsevac

OTTAWA, March 22, 2010 ( – During a nail-biting session in Canadian parliament Tuesday, the Liberal motion which sought to force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to include abortion in the Canadian plan to address maternal and child health at the G8 summit was defeated in a narrow 144-138 vote.

Rae’s motion stated that the maternal health plan “must include the full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health options,” which would have included abortion.

Minister for International Cooperation Bev Oda, announced this morning that the Conservatives would be voting against the motion. However, the vote still required some pro-life Liberals to vote against the motion as the Bloque and NDP were voting in support of the motion.

Yesterday Liberal and Conservative MPs were contacted by pro-life Canadians, and urged to vote against the motion. One Liberal MP, Dan McTeague, informed LSN yesterday that he could not support the motion.

Rod Bruinooge, Chair of the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus and a Conservative, declared his intention not to vote in favor of Rae’s motion, even before Oda announced that the Conservatives would be opposing it. “I will not be supporting the Liberal motion as it fails to exclude some of the reproductive health options that I find unsupportable, such as gender selection abortions,” he said.

Other Conservative MPs, including Stephen Woodworth, Dean Del Mastro, and Harold Albrecht also said they would vote against the Liberal motion, prior to the announcement by Oda.

During the back and forth on the motion in the Commons today, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff complained that Harper was unclear and muddled in his approach to maternal health at the G8. However, the Liberal motion was severely criticized by pro-life leaders for being intentionally evasive as it did not mention abortion, even though it was evident that was the motion’s central purpose.

That the motion was intended to force abortion into Harper’s plan was evident the fact that it took a swipe at the Bush Administration’s “Mexico City Policy,” which prevented American funding from going to groups overseas that performed or promoted abortion.

“The Canadian government should refrain from advancing the failed right-wing ideologies previously imposed by the George W. Bush administration in the United States,” said Rae’s motion, “which made humanitarian assistance conditional upon a ‘global gag rule’ that required all non-governmental organizations receiving federal funding to refrain from promoting medically-sound family planning.”

See related coverage:

Maternal Health Plan about Saving Lives, not “Family Planning”: Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister

Canadian PM Calls for G8 to Tackle Maternal Mortality – Abortion Push Feared

Liberal Party of Canada Demands Abortion Push in Maternal Health Initiative

Canadian Liberal Leader Ignatieff Slammed as “Extreme” and “Divisive” on Abortion

Toronto Archbishop Slams “Sad” and “Negative” Proposal by Liberal Leader Ignatieff