OTTAWA – The head of an American anti-abortion group says they're happy with Canada's “pro-life stance” on a proposed G8 initiative to improve maternal health in the developing world.
Janet Morana, co-founder of the Silent No More campaign, pointed to Barack Obama's reversal of a Republican policy that didn't allow U.S. aid money to be used for contraception or abortion in developing countries. Morana said Bush prohibited “exporting abortion.”
“So we're very pleased to see that Canada is taking that pro-life stance, meaning they're not going to export dollars overseas for abortion,” Morana said.
Rod Bruinooge, the Tory MP who chairs the Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus, introduced Morana and the Canadian coordinator for Silent No More, Angelina Steenstra, who are in Ottawa for an annual march on Parliament Hill. Conservatives Pierre Lemieux and Stephen Woodworth were also at the press conference.
Despite the MPs' participation in the pro-life caucus, Bruinooge said Prime Minister Stephen Harper won't reopen the abortion debate in Canada.
“It's a position of not wanting to engage in that policy agenda,” he said. “However, our Conservative party is open to having people like myself to hold views that are beyond that and that's why I'm continuing to be the chair of the pro-life caucus.”
Bruinooge said the pro-life caucus has between 30 and 40 members from the Liberal and Conservative parties, but no one from the NDP or Bloc.
NDP status of women critic Irene Mathyssen says the government is following conservative American policy.
“(They) are in lock-step with what has been shown to be absolutely irresponsible, and that is the Bush-Reagan gag rule,” she said, referring to the Republican policy of not funding abortions in developing countries.
“It is unspeakable that this kind of self-serving arrogance has a place in any foreign policy.”