OTTAWA, Canada, May 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Canadian government will again fund programs providing abortions in developing countries, the International Development Ministry has confirmed, thus ending a ban imposed by the previous Conservative government in 2010.
“It’s no surprise,” said Matthew Wojciechewski, the Campaign Life Coalition’s representative at the United Nations, noting that an $85-million grant to the United Nations Population Fund had been announced a few weeks ago. The UNPFA, he told LifeSiteNews, “is a big advocate for depopulating the world through birth control and abortion.”
“But it won’t help the people in need. Every dollar spent on this is a dollar taken away from providing them the real necessities of life such as infrastructure and clean water,” he added.
The quiet confirmation of the new funding policy came from Louis Belanger, communications director for International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, in an email exchange with the Toronto Sun. “Canada is committed to universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights,” stated Belanger.
The policy pursued by Prime Minister Stephen Harper was attached to the promise of $3.5 billion in Canadian foreign aid to improving the health of mothers and children in the developing world, made when Harper chaired the 2010 summit of G-8 nations. Because abortion was an issue dividing Canadians, Harper said at the time, no funding for it would be provided.
In 2015, when his government committed to the same amount from 2015 to 2020, Harper said, “The fact of the matter is it’s not only divisive in our country and in other donor countries, it’s extremely divisive in recipient countries where it’s often illegal.”
But in 2014 the Harper government began funding Planned Parenthood International’s development programs again, giving $2 million a year, while insisting none of it go to abortion.
The Liberal government has stated it will honour Harper’s sending envelope (including $750 million this year) but, according to Belanger, it will now fund projects that include abortion services, as long as abortion is legal in the host country.
“The inclusion or exclusion of specific health services is under the purview of recipient countries,” said Belanger. “Many governments allow abortion on request or for a variety of reasons including safeguarding the woman’s health…We believe that programming decisions on these matters should be driven by evidence and outcomes, not ideology.”
Belanger’s remark about ideology may be a reference to claims that the abortion exclusion was applied by the Harper government in response to lobbying from pro-life groups and individuals.
But there is another ideology at work in the developing world, Dr. Robert Walley, the head of Matercare International, told LifeSiteNews: “This is an ideology being imposed on Africa by liberals in America and Europe that tries to protect the health of women by destroying motherhood.”
Calling the Liberal government’s decision “outrageous,” Walley said the push was on across Africa from Western countries to “get women on birth-control programs with pills, injections. They are delivering contraceptives by drones to remote areas.”
On the other hand, Walley’s organization, based in Newfoundland, brings Catholic doctors and other health professionals from around th world to Kenya to provide real maternal care. He told LifeSiteNews that what women in developing countries need to improve their health are better emergency maternity facilities, including ambulances and better roads for them to drive on.
“Providing abortions is not going to do anything to reduce the death rate among women,” Walley said. “Most death occurs in the last three months of pregnancy and the first week after birth. Obstructed pregnancy is huge. And if you have no roads, no taxis, getting to emergency care is just like trying to get to the moon.”
Walley said he calls his holistic approach to maternal health “the 91 % solution,” because the World Health Organization blames the other eight or nine percent of maternal death on botched abortions. However, Matercare’s many applications for federal aid dollars have been turned down, ostensibly on technical grounds. Informally, “They told me we are too Catholic, too close to the Pope,” said Walley. “And we’re OK with that.”
Several studies by the Melisa Institute in Chile on maternal mortality vis-à-vis abortion in that country and Mexico have established the biggest factors affecting maternal health and a lower death rate are female literacy rates and access to modern health care, while access to abortion actually correlates with a higher maternal death rate.