Stephen Harper wants Canada to be seen as the West’s leading benefactor to, and champion of women and children in the developing world.  A the same time Harper rules out any third-world help for abortions.  Yet a new survey, just out, shows that the absence of reproductive health services, including abortion,  leads to death, serious medical problems and a frightening number of orphaned children.  In  the absence of reliable contraception and safe abortions,  tens of thousand of women in the developing world die  every year trying to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

In Africa and Latin America up to 97 per cent of abortions are unsafe.  In 2008, 47,000 women died as a result of unsafe abortions and another 8.5 million had serious medical complications.

Th e Harper government chooses to ignore this reality.

Instead of refusing to fund projects that would allow abortion, should not Canada refuse to fund projects that don’t allow it?

Outlawing of abortions does not stop the practise, it just makes it more dangerous.

Should Canada support abortions in the developng world?

What do you think?


Just back from a great cruise.  Neil


  1. 1
    Gunnar Says:

    Welcome back! I remember with embarrassment that I as a young student leader in Norway aggressively attacked all forms of abortion. This is more than 50 years ago but it still is a painful memory. I later realized I really had no idea what I was talking about. It was a strangely theoretical problem to me then. Today I just heard Mitt Romney make similar arguments (although more complicated) even arguing that abortion including the day-after pill is an infringement on the constitutional rights of believers. (Atheists have no such rights?) What is it with us men that we continue to legislate the rules of women’s lives and rights? For Canada to refuse access to birth control and abortion in developing countries is outright cruel.

  2. 2

    It’s hard to believe you’ll get any argument on this one. There are technicalities that could be discussed, but it is criminal to deny abortion to those countries needing aid.

  3. 3

    Gunnar asks:

    “What is it with us men that we continue to legislate the rules of women’s lives and rights?”

    Gunnar,52% of the population is women。Women have had the vote for decades in Canada。According to my high school math skills,that constitutes a majority。

    Why is it that you are putting the onus of legislative repercussions on men?Sounds a wee bit chauvanistic to me,actually。By making the comment you do you demonstrate a disrespect for women as if they don’t have the intellectual capacity to know what they are voting for or are so addled-minded that they are too easily fooled by the evil men who put themselves up for election (and for that matter the not small number of women candidates these days)。

  4. 4
    Barbara Says:

    Tony, you will eat those words come November, I bet. Sorry, Neil, off-thread.

  5. 5
    Neil McKenty Says:

    Abortion is one thing. But what about contraception? America’s Catholic bishops are now up in arms because Obama has ruled that people working in the the health system, including Catholic hospitals, must provide contraception if their health insurance pays for it. Can you believe this?

  6. 6

    Gunner: Great comment! 50 years ago, I was struggling with the debate as well. I wanted to “have an opinion” but I couldn’t decide what it was. I finally did. I think that abortion should be readily, legally, available to all women. I discovered that I could easily argue for the cause.
    I would never have an abortion. I would also never counsel a person one way or the other. It’s very personal, with consequences in either case.
    I believe in contraception…maybe a pill slipped into every 12 yr. old’s oatmeal! 🙂

    Neil: I am not sure what the Obama comment means-
    Obama is correct in not mixing religion and healthcare, if I have understood correctly.

  7. 7
    Neil McKenty Says:


    The Obama administration has ordered that health and education institutions including those that are Catholic must include contraception in their health-care packages. The Catholic bishops are outraged AT THIS policy.

  8. 8
    Barbara Says:

    Let me be the devil’s advocate, as it were. If you, in conscience, are opposed to contraception and abortion, you might be bothered by a requirement to pay for coverage of these procedures. Consciences must be respected, even if they don’t agree with your own. [Consider the case of conscientious objectors in time of war.] The problem is that not all the employees of R.C. health and education institutions have the same scruples. Their consciences must also be respected. This is Solomonic.

    I wish some kind of optional (perhaps fully tax-deductible?) rider could be added to the policies for those who want this kind of coverage. Or perhaps that the bishops might grant the same kind of freedom of conscience to their employees that they demand for themselves. Having coverage does not mean that anyone uses it.

    This could turn around and bite Obama in the butt, if he cannot find a suitable solution.

  9. 9

    Hi Barbara- That’s a well thought out argument. I like “Solomonic” (I’ll be looking that one up.)
    When serving the public in healthcare, I am not sure that a conscience is the best guide in making the policies. We pay for healthcare that is covering smokers, alcoholics, prostitutes, murderers, drug addicts: so to cover contraception or clinical abortion under the same umbrella is not a question of conscience, but need.
    The Catholic church is incredibly hypocritical. They should turn their “outrage” inward!
    Whatever price Obama has to pay, I hope he doesn’t cave in to the bigots. There is a “greater good” element at play.

  10. 10

    “The Obama administration has ordered that health and education institutions including those that are Catholic must include contraception in their health-care packages. The Catholic bishops are outraged AT THIS policy.”

    Why should the government that is supposed to be working for ALL the people cater only to those with restrictions? Is it not up to the individuals to decide whether or not to follow the mandates of their religious leaders? Why is it Obama’s burden to babysit the actions of Catholics?

    The Catholic “leaders” are upset because they can’t seem to get anyone to ride herd on their sheep for them. Too bad.

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