hey guys, remember this? (it’s okay if you don’t)
Canada will fund an organization that provides family planning services around the world — but only in countries where abortion is illegal in most cases, CBC News has learned.
International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda has decided to approve a proposal by the International Planned Parenthood Federation to provide sex education and contraception in five developing countries.
Planned Parenthood, which provides an array of sexual and reproductive health services, including abortions, abortion counselling and training for providers, is getting the federal funding after Oda let the agency’s previous request sit on her desk for a year without a response, and after a Conservative MP told an anti-abortion group that the government wouldn’t be giving the organization any money.
Oda’s decision to approve Planned Parenthood’s proposal comes more than a year after Canada was embroiled in controversy over whether to fund abortions as part of a G8 commitment to improve maternal health in developing countries.
The proposal gets around the thorny issue of abortion by asking for money for sex education and contraception services, and does not include abortion services.
The funding is worth $6 million over three years for Planned Parenthood to work in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania, where abortions are illegal except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
Oda’s spokesman said he wouldn’t comment on an application under review.
It looks like Planned Parenthood has not heard this from CIDA, but have a meeting with them at 10:30am. This request has been outstanding since 2010.
Dmitri Soudas, spokesperson for the Government has said in the past that funding abortion is not included in the criteria for maternal health. Officials have also said that Canadian funds have never been used to directly fund abortion abroad.
I am not sure why this is meant to be reassurance.
If Canada permits abortion (as it does) within its boundaries, then we should also support that abroad. Why offer women elsewhere any less rights than we want for our women at home? And if the law says it must be offered, than do we not apply the same criteria (in this case, regarding a human right) elsewhere?
I want to clarify that I don’t think it’s appropriate for Planned Parenthood to go into other countries that prohibit abortion and then … offer abortion. There does need to be respect for state autonomy, as well as the safety of international and at home workers. And honestly, I would hope that the very presence of Planned Parenthood and other organizations would help create an environment where abortion can become legal.
However, I am uncomfortable with the idea that requesting funding specific only to certain countries (in which abortion is legal) as being described as getting around a “thorny issue”. Not when it’s my government making it thorny.