Rae won't let abortion go away

  • May 7, 2010
Bob RaeOTTAWA - An  event to promote health care for women and children in developing nations was hijacked by Bob Rae’s abortion views when he insisted on raising the controversial issue that even his own party failed to support in a recent Commons vote.

Speaking to a coalition of nine major non-governmental organizations on May 4, Rae first lauded initiatives to provide basic health care for women and children, but then said he must remain consistent by bringing up “reproductive and sexual health” and a “woman’s right to choose.”

On March 23, a motion sponsored by Rae to have Canada support a “full range” of family planning services in foreign aid was  defeated when several fellow Liberals snubbed Rae at the vote by opposing or staying absent.

“The problem is the government has an ideological agenda,” Rae told journalists. “It’s about our commitment to recognizing women’s equality and the importance of advocacy.”

Canada is advocating maternal and child health care programs as host of June’s G8 summit, but has said it will not fund abortions in developing nations.

The May 4 event marked the launch of “A Week to Save Moms and Their Kids” leading up to Mother’s Day. The nine-group coalition, including World Vision, Care Canada, Save the Children, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada and Plan International, laid gift baskets for mothers on the steps of Parliament Hill. The baskets contained birthing kits, rehydration salts, micronutrients and other health-care items to highlight some simple but effective life-saving tools wealthy countries could send to the developing world.

Representatives from each organization praised Canada for leading what was called an “historic” G8 maternal and child health initiative. Each emphasized how improved health care and other interventions could annually save 300,000 women who die from child-birth complications and 8.8-million children who die before age five.

International Development Minister Bev Oda accused Rae and the Liberals of “playing petty party politics.”

“It is shameful that the Liberal Party has chosen to turn an otherwise successful event into yet another unwanted debate on abortion,” said an Oda spokesperson in an e-mail.

“I don’t know what is going on in the Liberal Party,” said Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition. “They are so pro-death. They are obsessed with it.”

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