Monday February 15, 2010

Liberal MP Reproaches Conservatives for Keeping Abortion Out of Maternal Health Initiative

By Patrick B. Craine

VICTORIA, British Columbia, February 15, 2010 ( – Dr. Keith Martin, who serves as Liberal Member of Parliament for Esquimalt – Juan de Fuca, has issued a harsh reproach after a Conservative MP revealed last week that support for abortion would not be included in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s G8 maternal and child health care initiative.

“Once again, the Conservative government is demonstrating their willingness to pursue an ideological approach to public policy,” Martin stated in a press release on Thursday. “Mr. Harper and members of his government may personally oppose abortion, but they do not have the right to deprive others from having this option in countries where abortion is legal.”

After Harper announced on January 27th that he planned, as president of the G8 this year, to make maternal and child health care a top priority, both pro-life and pro-abortion groups have questioned what role, if any, abortion would play in the plan.

Last Wednesday, Conservative MP Shelly Glover (Saint Boniface) insisted on CBC that abortion was not a consideration. “First and foremost, this (the maternal health initiative) has absolutely nothing to do with abortion,” she said. “That topic is not part and parcel of this initiative.” Pushed further, she insisted again, “Abortion is not a part of this.”

She explained: “It’s important to remember there are simple necessities that have not been dealt with: clean water, nutrition, inoculations, trained health care officials, are needed in these very poor countries.”

On Thursday, however, Martin labelled the announcement as a “tragic triumph of ideology over science.”

“There is no more effective way to enable countries to improve their economy, reduce social costs, save lives, and indeed improve their environment than by enabling people to access a full spectrum of family planning options,” he claimed.

Martin’s comments follow Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s call on February 2nd for abortion in Harper’s plan. In fact, the National Post reports that Martin joined Ignatieff at the February 2nd press conference, where Ignatieff delivered the comments that pro-life leaders have cited as evidence of the Liberal leader’s “extreme” pro-abortion position.

Claiming to speak on behalf of the Liberal caucus, Ignatieff said, “the one thing we feel very strongly about is that if you are going to do that and do it seriously, the full range of access to reproductive health services should be made available.”

“We’ve had a pro-choice consensus in this area for a couple of generations and we want to hold it,” he insisted.

Pro-life Liberal MP Paul Szabo told LifeSiteNews (LSN), however, that the issue had not been brought to the caucus. “I am a pro-life MP and there are many of my colleagues in the Liberal caucus who will protect the unborn in their decisions as Parliamentarians, and should matters come before the House they will continue to act accordingly,” he said.

Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto also condemned Ignatieff’s “astonishing” statements, but praised Harper’s effort to protect the health of mothers and children. “When there are so many obvious practical steps that can be taken to promote maternal and child health throughout the world,” he said, “it is sad to see Mr. Ignatieff introduce into the discussion this negative proposal, which in no way serves to improve the health of mothers or children, but which rather imperils the most vulnerable among us.”

“Even those who think that abortion should be allowed do not, however, propose it as a positive contribution to the good of society,” Archbishop Collins added.

Contact Information:

The Hon. Michael Ignatieff

House of Commons

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Phone: (613) 995-9364

Fax: (613) 992-5880

E-mail: [email protected]

The Hon. Keith Martin

300 Justice Building

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Phone: 613.996.2625

Fax: 613.996.9779

E-mail: [email protected]

See related coverage:

Abortion Not Part of Harper’s Maternal Health Initiative: Conservative MP

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