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 Patrick Craine / LifeSiteNews

TORONTO, March 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto has condemned the Liberal government’s three-year, $650 million commitment to “address gaps in sexual and reproductive health and rights” in developing countries as “arrogant.”

In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada’s top Catholic prelate expressed “deep concern and disappointment” with the Liberals’ decision, which he denounced as “imposing a distorted vision of the empowerment of women” on dependent countries.

Trudeau announced the $650 million fund on International Women’s Day.

Women around the world “are denied legal control over their bodies and reproductive health,” Trudeau, a Catholic, said then.

“That is why we will continue to place gender equality and rights, and the empowerment of women and girls, at the heart of our international development work.”

Those “public comments suggest that unless a woman has access to abortion or contraception, she is not empowered or able to realize her full potential,” responded Collins in his March 10 letter.

“I simply remind you and your colleagues that we have no rights at all unless we are afforded the right to life,” wrote the cardinal.

“That decision was made for you and for each one of us by a woman, determined and committed to bring a new life into this world.”

Collins also rebuked the Liberals’ for “ideological colonization.”

It is “arrogant for powerful, wealthy nations to dictate what priorities developing countries should embrace,” he wrote.

In this, Collins echoed the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, who rebuked Trudeau for “cultural imperialism” in a March 10 open letter.

The bishops cited a Global Affairs background document that reveals the Liberals intend to fund campaigns to strike down abortion laws in developing countries.

The $650 million investment goals include “removing judicial and legal barriers to the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive health and rights,” the document states.

Canadians will also pay for “addressing social norms that limit women’s and adolescents’ control over their bodies and reproductive decision-making” as part of its development aid, it states.

Pope Francis “has cautioned the rich and powerful West against the danger of ‘ideological colonization,’ in which such countries and organizations offer funding to help further a particular social agenda,” wrote Collins.

“Do we empower women by making sex selective abortions more accessible?” he added.

“Surely we can do better than imposing a distorted vision of the empowerment of women on the people of countries that deserve our support to respond effectively to the challenge of their most pressing needs,” Collins stated.

“Money spent on promoting abortion and contraception could be spent on vaccinating millions of women and girls against malaria or other diseases. $650 million could help build a lot of schools or universities, pathways to knowledge for future female leaders of our world.”

Canada “could learn from a number of inspiring examples of outreach and care that support women worldwide,” wrote the cardinal.

“Very often these programs are offered by faith-based, non-governmental organizations, which are usually the first to arrive and the last to leave any area of crisis or need.”  

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Collins ended his letter to Trudeau by stating he would “welcome opportunity to speak with you regarding this critically important issue.”

Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson said his organization was “deeply grateful” to Collins “for his leadership.”

“We thank Cardinal Collins for his strong and precise condemnation of Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision to export contraception and abortion worldwide and for calling out his arrogance in dictating ‘what priorities developing countries should embrace,’” Gunnarson said.

“We hope and pray his words will pierce through Trudeau and his government’s false sense of ‘compassion’ and misguided worldview and give cause to sober second thought before millions of women, children and families are harmed by our country’s decision.”


Cardinal Collins’s statement can be read here, and the CCCB statement here. The Global Affairs background document can be read here.