Toronto Catholic group gives platform to Planned Parenthood advocate
TORONTO, Ontario, October 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Catholic parents in Toronto are decrying a decision by the Toronto Catholic District School Board to give a platform to an open supporter of Planned Parenthood’s “reproductive rights” agenda at a gala fundraiser on November 4th.
Teresa Pierre of the Ontario Catholic Parents’ Association, says Marc Kielburger, co-founder of the non-profit group Free the Children, should not have been chosen as the MC at the gala in support of the TCDSB’s Angel Foundation for Learning, despite Kielburger’s insistence that he is a “proud” Catholic.
“While Free the Children continues to offer vocal support and financial assistance to groups that oppose the teachings of the Catholic Church on the value of life and family, Free the Children should not be recognized as a partner for Catholic schools,” said Pierre.
Kielburger has been an open proponent for the promotion of “family planning” and condoms in international development efforts, and in a Toronto Star column last May he slammed Stephen Harper’s Conservative government for delaying funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the world’s largest abortion provider.
“As women in developing countries fight for reproductive rights, our now Conservative majority government is poised to cut funding to International Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides reproductive health services abroad,” he and his brother Craig wrote. “It’s a paternalistic refusal to offer women in Africa the same rights offered to women in Canada.”
Sara Camilleri, the Angel Foundation’s executive director, initially referred concerns to the dinner’s organizing committee but then said they would not answer questions about Kielburger’s invitation. Asked how Kielburger was chosen, she said, “I don’t foresee … that that information will be available.”
Kielburger refused an interview request, but in a statement he stressed that the May column never mentioned abortion.
He said it was well reported at the time they wrote the column that the government was considering funding requests for its maternal health initiative, in which they had refused to fund abortion abroad, and so IPPF’s request was restricted to countries where abortion is illegal.
“We perhaps incorrectly assumed that others would be reading the piece along with the surrounding news of the day and the context which was provided,” he wrote. “When the article is taken out of the surrounding news context of the time, we understand that there is the potential for misunderstanding.”
But Pierre said it is “disingenuous” for Kielburger to suggest that readers would interpret his use of the term “reproductive rights” in terms of maternal health care as opposed to abortion services.
The term “reproductive rights” can “include everything from abortion, to contraception, to child spacing and maternal health,” Pierre explained, “but you would not normally interpret it as exclusively meaning a right to maternal health care.”
Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers’ attempts to raise funds by appealing to the need for maternal care should be questioned, according to Pierre, who said Planned Parenthood cannot meaningfully assert that funds given to it will not benefit its ability to promote abortion.
“As MPs Maurice Vellacott and Brad Trost have observed publicly, it makes no sense to assert that monies going to the world’s biggest supporter of abortion will only be used to support maternal health,” she explained.
Free the Children, which has partnerships with Catholic schools across Ontario and beyond, has been under fire from pro-life advocates since July when LifeSiteNews reported that the group is dispensing “family planning” through their health clinics in the Third World, has ties to homosexual activism, and published two documents promoting abortion as “family planning.”
In his statement, Kielburger insisted Free the Children does not promote abortion and has remained “apolitical” on the issue. He told the Catholic Register in July that the abortion-promoting documents were written by an intern and posted to their website without review by the group’s leadership.
Free the Children has so far not explained what is included in its promotion of “family planning,” or its sponsorship of a fundraiser for the homosexual lobby group Egale in June.
See Marc and Craig Kielburger’s Toronto Star column, ‘A Mother’s Day Manifesto’, here.
Sara Camilleri, Executive Director
The Angel Foundation for Learning
Most Rev. Thomas Collins
Director of Education Bruce Rodrigues
For trustees of the Toronto Catholic District School Board click here.