By Patrick B. Craine
GUELPH, Ontario, March 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Veteran pro-life activist Jakki Jeffs has publicly denounced her Member of Parliament, Frank Valeriote (Guelph, Lib), a Catholic and fellow parishioner, for his vote in favor of last week's Liberal motion that called on the Canadian government to promote abortion in the Third World.
“As a Roman Catholic politician, he has to take his faith into consideration,” Jeffs, who is the executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario, told LifeSiteNews (LSN) on Tuesday. “So I would expect him to uphold life in all those things.”
The Liberal motion was proposed by MP Bob Rae, and called on the government to offer a “full range of reproductive health services” in its plan for promoting maternal and child health care for the Third World at this June's G8 summit. Despite the backing of all three opposition parties, the motion was unexpectedly defeated 138-144 due to unanimous opposition from the Conservatives, 13 missing votes from the Liberals, and three Liberal MPs voting against it.
The motion omitted the word 'abortion', but, as Jeffs observed, it included the “language that is used to disguise abortion.” Its pro-abortion intent was particularly evident in its condemnation of George W. Bush's Mexico City Policy, which prohibited overseas funding for pro-abortion groups.
The three Liberal MPs, Paul Szabo, John McKay, and Dan McTeague, who defied their party's whip and voted against the motion, “had the courage to make the right decision there, and [Valeriote] didn't,” she said. “As a Roman Catholic, I'm very disappointed and actually scandalized by that.”
“As a pro-lifer, knowing how induced abortion is so bad for women's health, I don't quite understand how he could make that decision,” she added.
Valeriote told the Guelph Mercury that he believes abortion and contraception are essential to women's health care. “Women and children around the world are suffering because of our failure to attend to their needs after childbirth,” he said. “One person in the world dies from malnutrition every six seconds. Morally and religiously, we are failing.”
But Jeffs explained that “induced abortion is not medically sound, even here in our own country.”
She referred to a 2001 Ontario study commissioned by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which compared the hospital outcomes of 41,039 women who had just had abortions with a similar number of women who had not. Focusing on the three-month post-abortion period, the study found that the post-abortive women had four times the rate of hospitalization for infections, five times higher for “surgical events,” and nearly five times higher for psychiatric problems. The College, however, apparently made no effort to disseminate these results.
“Put that into the resource-poor countries,” she said. “And we're saying this is going to help women? When they haven't even got obstetrical birthing attendants, they haven't got antibiotics?”
“It's as though we've got this Western love affair with abortion, and I don't understand it,” she added.
In his interview with the Guelph Mercury, Valeriote criticized Jeffs' presentation of his position. “Jakki is mistaken about my being a good Catholic and pro-choice,” he said. “I am conflicted. It’s not a choice I would make, but that doesn’t mean I should take away the option.”
Canada's Catholic bishops have strongly condemned the Liberals' attempt at promoting abortion in the Third World, however.
In a letter last month, Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto wrote that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's call for abortion in the G8 initiative was “sad,” and noted that it “in no way serves to improve the health of mothers or children, but … rather imperils the most vulnerable among us.”
According to Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, “I thought it was pathetic for a political leader to suggest that abortion is somehow tied to the health of women and children.”
Bishop Pierre Morrissette, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, also wrote to Ignatieff emphasizing the Church's teaching in defense of the unborn.
Jeffs said Valeriote is “a very likable man, but on this specific thing, to me at least, he betrays his faith and he betrays human life. … He needs to have the courage of his faith, to stand up and let everything fall where they may after that decision.”
Campaign Life Coalition, Canada's largest pro-life political organization, has called on pro-life supporters in Guelph to vote Valeriote out of office. In a letter to supporters in the Guelph federal riding, CLC national president Jim Hughes explained the background on the Liberals' push for abortion in the G8 maternal and child health initiative, noting Valeriote's support for Rae's motion.
“You have an obligation to defeat Frank Valeriote in the next election and vote for a pro-life candidate if one is available,” said Hughes.
Frank Valeriote was unavailable for comment.
Frank Valeriote, MP (Guelph)
40 Cork Street East
Guelph, ON N1H 2W8
Phone: (519) 837-8276
Fax: (519) 837-8443
Email: [email protected]
House of Commons
713 Confederation Building
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Phone: (613) 996-4758
Fax: (613) 996-9922
Email: [email protected]
See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Ontario College of Physicians Study Shows Substantial Risks from Abortion