04.26.2010 03:15 PM

This “government” is a disgrace

Tories say Canada won’t fund abortion under G8 plan (Cda-G8-Abortion)
Source: The Canadian Press
Apr 26, 2010 15:49

OTTAWA – The Harper government says it won’t fund abortion as part of its G8 child- and maternal-health plan for poor countries.

That sets up a potential conflict with the U.S. and other G8 partners who say abortion can’t be separated from family planning.

The Conservatives had refused to say if abortion would be covered under the G8 plan.

But MP Jim Abbott, parliamentary secretary to International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, clarified the government’s position in the House of Commons on Monday.

“Canada’s contribution to child and maternal health may include family planning,” he said. “However, Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortion.”

The Tories have faced criticism at home and abroad since they made the health plan a key agenda item of the G8 summit that Canada hosts in June, but refused to clarify the abortion issue.

Oda is hosting a meeting of G8 development ministers in Halifax on Tuesday.



  1. Pat C says:

    Although i came to the same conclusion A LONG time ago, I completely agree.
    Harper and his crew are a complete embarrassment to the country.

  2. Ted says:

    Notice how they have also retreated on family planning: from “not closing the door on any possibilities including family planning” to “MAY include family planning”.

    And we wouldn’t even know about this sneaky attempt at changing our longstanding international policy without a simple question three months ago from Ignatieff, a question the Conservatives have done everything they can not to answer.

  3. J Michaels says:

    Could it be that other countries/cultures don’t view this issue in the same way we Westerners do?

    I know, through experience, that Uganda and Kenya hold life in higher regard than us.

    Let’s not arrogantly assume our way is the right way for every nation.

    • Ted says:

      That is part of the point.

      Before now, we were agnostic when it comes to domestic policies on abortion: if you allow it or prohibit it, that is a domestic issue and will not affect how or whether we provide any international aid to you.

      But now under Harper, before we dole out the money, we will first ask the question “will you use our money for abortions?” We will now impose a litmus test on funding, imposing Harper’s view of the world and morals on others.

      • Steve T says:

        Explain please how funding abortion is an “agnostic” approach.

        You say that we are imposing “Harper’s view of the world” by asking questions about how it will be spent. Are you suggesting that not asking any questions is the “agnostic” approach? Would you consider us similarly agnostic if we were donating money to a country that was known to use foreign aid to support white supremacists (eg: apartheid in South Africa when it existed), or some other morally reprehensible practice?

        You may disagree with the Harper government’s approach, but don’t kid yourself that turning a blind eye is agnostic. It is as much a moral judgement as withholding funding.

        • Ted says:

          The pre-Harper policy was agnostic because it does not try in any way to make abortion the issue. That is a domestic issue to be determined by the domestic laws enacted by the domestic government. If you outlaw abortion, fine, here’s your maternal health money. If you permit abortion, fine, here’s your maternal health money.

  4. Abortion isn’t health care. It kills an innocent human being. It’s an act of violence and a violation of the most fundamental human right.

    Shame on the sophists who make cynical appeals to “choice” and “reproductive rights”. These slogans are totally transparent and without substance. People should be forced to confront what abortion actually is, instead of comforting themselves with such shallow reasoning.


    • Patagonia says:

      “Abortion isn’t health care.”

      Says you. Why don’t we ask one of the women who die EVERY 8 MINUTES from an unsafe one?

      “It kills an innocent human being.”

      Every 8 minutes, an unsafe abortion actually kills two. But I’m sure your failure to include the woman in your equation was simply a blip in your otherwise superior reasoning skills.

      • Would you call it sound reasoning if I said the solution to husbands beating their wives is to equip all husbands with gloves to facilitate “safe, legal” wife beating? Men who beat their wives often get bloody knuckles as a result.

        This is what your argument amounts to if you refuse to address what abortion actually is and what it actually does. It is never moral to directly kill an innocent human being. Pro-abortionists fear to discuss what the fetus actually is, because they know they’re going to lose the argument if they no longer have recourse to their empty slogans.

        • Patagonia says:

          Well since you asked, no, your reasoning is not sound. Neither is your analogy.

          A woman dies EVERY MINUTE from complications due to pregnancy: http://www.who.int/features/qa/12/en/index.html

          Let me cut to the chase on your straw man fallacy (look it up) regarding what “pro-abortionists” fear to discuss.

          Abortion terminates a pregnancy, a potential human life. Yes. I’ve addressed what abortion actually is and what it actually does. As long as it is in my body, requiring my body for its viability, I have the right to CHOOSE to terminate it. It doesn’t scare me to say it. It doesn’t scare me that it contradicts your personal morality. I’m not saying you should have an abortion. Just that I have the right to have one should I so choose. I consider this right inalienable. Therefore, (this is the part that scares you) YOU don’t have the right to tell me I can’t. This human right extends to all women, whether man’s laws say so or not.

          What I will grant you as far as your rights as a tax-payer are concerned, is the right to express whether or not to fund the purported initiative in maternal health for women and children in impoverished countries. Once we’ve had this debate and chosen to fund this initiative, there is no legitimate basis upon which to exclude funding for a procedure that can reduce risk to the life of a pregnant woman, a woman who wants to exercise this right to choose termination. (Notice I said “legitimate” – your, and Harper’s, position attempts to take away ability to exercise the right.)

          Ergo: by specifically excluding abortion from the initiative, we prevent women from exercising this choice safely. We are saying that the life of the woman who dies every eight minutes from unsafe abortions is not worth saving. Rather contrary to the initiative, no?

          As far as your wife-beater analogy is concerned, besides being seriously flawed, it causes me to want to spew ad hominems ad nauseum.

          • No, pregnancy terminates the life of an innocent human being, not a “potential” one. To say otherwise is pure religious dogma which ignores objective, scientific fact. If you believe in human rights, then you must believe every human being is entitled to them. If you believe in the morality of abortion, you don’t believe in fundamental human rights.

            For a mother to kill her innocent unborn child is no more her “right” then it is the right of a pro-lifer to shoot an abortionist. If I were to tell you that I’m personally opposed to shooting abortionists, but that I won’t interfere with the choice of others, you would be very right to condemn me as a sophist and a fool.

            The argument you make is totally without merit because it doesn’t seriously address what abortion is. It’s up to you to provide the reasons why the life of the unborn is without intrinsic value. It’s up to you to prove that arbitrary line you’ve drawn at birth, when human beings suddenly possess rights.

            The argument from location (ie. in the womb) simply doesn’t hold up to the most basic scrutiny. If you’re making an argument from dependence, so too is a newborn child dependent on its parents, but no one advocates making it legal to toss a newborn in the nearest dumpster.

          • G Betts says:

            Well said, Patagonia. The thing that anti-choice advocates always skip over is the woman who handles and governs the whole pregnancy thing in the first place. It is baffling that they just leave her completely out of the equation. Who do they think is going to raise the child? Who do they think knows best for the child? Who do they think knows best for HER?

            Paul, until the child is born and proven viable, it is called a fetus. Use any language other than that and you are departing from the common law in Canada, from the general consensus in Canada, and resorting to personal beliefs. Developing a totalizing argument from personal beliefs, in contradistinction from the laws and the general practice in your country, is pretty much textbook sophistry.


          • Northbaytrapper says:

            For the point of disclosure I am pro-choice so long as it is in the first trimester. That being said, I find the holier than thou attitude and the cavalier smugness of those that often argue for abortion sickening. It is not deciding what to eat at a restaurant or what colour you want your Altima to be. Sit back, take off a deep breath and accept that there are valid arguments on both sides of the ledger. This should be easy for someone arguing from a secular soapbox. Realize that there are people who are deeply opposed to abortion and try to respect their feelings.
            The problem is that you don’t want people to understand you, rather, you want to rub their faces in it.
            And for the record, to call in a Man’s Law is a fallacy as many women are pro-life.

          • Patagonia says:

            With utmost respect for the feelings of those who are deeply opposed to abortion, I fully support them in choosing not to have one. If I have come across otherwise, I apologize.

  5. Merle Terlesky says:

    We as Canadian have the right to choose how our tax dollars are spent. We have the right to say NO to funding of abortion. Today CBC national showed a story of a man left lying bleeding on the sidewalk in NYC after being a good samaritan to a woman. No one helped the bleeding man and he finally died right there as people walked by.
    Why should we be at all surprised? Life has been de-valued and discarded as garbage via abortion and we now expect people to show concern for other life? Life is life folks and so if you are left bleeding on a sidewalk one day thank the pro-choice people as someone makes the “choice” not to assist you.

    • People have been conducting abortions for well over 2,000 years, so when (pray tell) was this Golden Age where abortion was banned and life was valued as sacrosanct? Abortion may have been illegal during the Victorian era, but so was indentured servitude, and just about everyone who isn’t white was under the heel of some kind of imperial authority.

      If legalized abortion changed anything about the way we value human lives, it changed the way that society valued women.

      You are right though, we DO have a right to choose how our tax dollars are spent; which begs the question, who has made this choice. Does the majority of Canadians want this change? If not you are a hypocrite.

    • Patagonia says:

      ?We as Canadian have the right to choose how our tax dollars are spent. We have the right to say NO to funding of abortion.?

      I assume that this also means we have the ?right? to say YES to funding of abortion.

      ?Today CBC national showed a story of a man left lying bleeding on the sidewalk in NYC after being a good samaritan to a woman. No one helped the bleeding man and he finally died right there as people walked by.?

      That same program also told this story: a woman dies from an unsafe abortion every 8 minutes. A WOMAN DIES EVERY EIGHT MINUTES. They are bleeding and dying and YOU are CHOOSING to walk by.

      ?[I]f you are left bleeding on a sidewalk one day thank the pro-choice people as someone makes the ?choice? not to assist you.?

      If you are a woman bleeding and dying from an unsafe abortion, thank the ?pro-life? people as someone makes the ?choice? not to assist you.

      Merle T: You are very much ?pro-choice?. You just choose differently on whose human life you choose to value. You must be so very proud of your moral high ground.

    • Ted says:

      We do indeed have a right to decide how our tax dollars are spent.

      Could you please show me where Harper asked us? I don’t recall him mentioning this in any election. In fact, the only things he’s ever said about abortion is that the Conservatives would remain steadfastedly pro-choice and support a woman’s right to choose abortion.

      For 3 months he has obfuscated, distracted, changed his policies, lied, avoided answering any questions. During that time of trying to avoid any focus on what he was doing, I don’t recall him ever asking us

  6. Lipman says:


    Thank goodness you were sent to the earth to tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. I bet millions of Canadian women are at ease knowing that Paul Griffiths is hovering over their decision-making process.

    • parnel says:

      Paul Griffiths comes from the same barbaric cave as the reformatorts. I grew up in an era where women who were raped and pregnant had to have abortions in back lanes in order to get rid of the shame thye lived under.

  7. More sophistry.

    Abortion kills the distinct body of an innocent human child. It’s no more a legitimate “decision-making process” than the decision of a husband to beat his wife.

    • G Betts says:

      Repeated from above:

      Paul, until the child is born and proven viable, it is called a fetus. Use any language other than that and you are departing from the common law in Canada, from the general consensus in Canada, and resorting to personal beliefs. Developing a totalizing argument from personal beliefs, in contradistinction from the laws and the general practice in your country, is pretty much textbook sophistry.

      • Northbaytrapper says:

        Mr Betts,

        I am pro-choice, and I am also pro English. I believe your use of the word Sophistry is incorrect.
        “Developing a totalizing argument from personal beliefs, in contradistinction from the laws and the general practice in your country, is pretty much textbook sophistry.”

  8. Martin says:

    When I have I womb, and am at risk to an unwanted pregnancy, I’ll feel like I have something to say on the issue. Until then, I’ll just leave it up to the women involved. Suggest other wombless individuals do the same.

  9. luke says:

    Anyone who claims that ‘it’ is a life and who eats meat is a hypocrite. The animals that get slaughtered en masse to feed people feel pain, they suffer, they know fear. Pigs mate for life, have families, and have an IQ far higher than any fetus. If your argument is based on biology you have no leg to stand on and there are far more heinous things going on in the world, as I just described. If you’re argument is based on religious belief than you must prove the legitimacy of that belief. And that ain’t gonna happen.

    But more importantly, anyone who opposes this needs to go see the dead babies I saw in India. They need to go see the kids who live in cardboard boxes or sometimes less than cardboard boxes in Cambodia. They need to go see the 12 year old girl who has a 1 year old baby in her arms in Manila. If you think these things are ok or no big deal, and that ‘family planning’ in ANY AND ALL forms wouldn’t make a difference, than send YOUR children to live like that.

    We wouldn’t be strapping women to a table and forcing anything if we were funding abortion in this bill/policy. What we would be doing is allowing women in the poorest nations in the world a chance to control their own bodies and make a choice. We would be sparring children a life of unimaginable poverty. We would be allowing women not to carry some sex tourist’s or rapist baby.

    • My argument rests on the basic premise that human life has intrinsic value, and all human beings possess rights. I hope this isn’t a controversial position.

      If you’re making the argument that “IQ” determines the degree of human rights, you have to understand the implications of this position. If IQ determines human rights, people suffering from mental disability aren’t true humans and can be killed without worry, a position which is totally repugnant and uncomfortable for even the most raving leftist. What astonishes me about pro-choice arguments is how universally weak they are.

      In the end, the only “test” of human rights is if you’re human. No other qualifications are necessary.

      • G Betts says:

        The law decided a long time ago, Paul, that fetuses are not “human” and do not enjoy the same rights as people. They are potential humans, true, but they do not enjoy the rights of a living person in this country. You are attempting to mislead people through an emotional argument rather than a factual argument by calling the fetus a child. In this country, there is a categorical difference between a fetus and a child, and the law and practice of this country reflect that difference.


      • paleking says:

        The poster to whom you’ve responded here has not made the argument that you attribute to him. He did make an (admittedly weak) appeal to attempt to assess reasoning behind the distinction between animals and persons with respect to the accordance of rights. Used in this context, this argument is an extremely weak straw-man.

        However, you continue to attempt to distract from a flaw in your argument that has been pointed out many times and been completely ignored by you.

        If we accept that the fetus is a person (person being the operative term here, as rights are afforded to persons and not to humans) and is thus afforded with rights, there is still a conflict in fundamental rights here. A woman has a right to life and security of the person. Her right is to control her body, her health and what her metabolic functions are used for. In the case of an abortion, this right is in conflict with the fetus’ purported right to life and security of the person.

        In most reasoned constructs, the right to life and security of the person is seen as a negative right – obliging others not to interfere with it. Here, you seem to be attempting to manufacture a positive obligation to directly support through biological processes, the fetus’ life – in direct conflict with the woman’s right to life and security of the person.

        So, I’d invite you to a) admit that there is a conflict of rights at issue here, b) explain why you believe the fetus’ right to life and security of the person should trump the woman’s and c) explain why you believe that Judith Thomson’s analogy[1] is not on point (or why the music lover has a positive obligation to support the violinist)

        FWIW, your earlier analogy with respect to infants and dumpsters is both classless and incorrect. There are alternatives – adoption, foster care,… that allow a reasonable reconciliation of conflicting rights.

        [1] Thompson, Judith Jarvis. “A Defense of Abortion” (http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm)

        • Human rights accrue to human beings, and don’t depend on some arbitrary concept of “personhood”. This isn’t the first time rights have been denied by arguing that certain humans aren’t “persons”.

          A mother has a positive obligation to care for her child. She cannot kill the child in the womb any more than she can abandon it when it’s born. The child is dependent both before and after it’s born, and it’s up to you to demonstrate why this positive obligation doesn’t exist when the dependency is biological.

          Even if I were to accept that a woman has the right to avoid using her body to support the life of her child (and I don’t for a moment), it would not follow that a woman has the right to terminate the life of her child (which is what induced abortion does). It would only mean that the child can be removed from the womb or from the care of the mother and left to its own devices, either to die or be cared for by others.

          However, I don’t accept even this more moderate position. If a woman can sever the relationship of dependency with her child without concern for its survival because she has some “right” to use her body as she wills, there would be no reason whatsoever to condemn a woman who abandons her newborn child in the nearest dumpster. It is only the form of dependency which differs, and a woman employs her body to care for her child even after it’s born. I see no reason why biological dependency is categorically different from other kinds.

          I find it difficult to understand how anyone could hold such a sick position, but then again it was considered perfectly socially acceptable to abandon and expose your newborn in ancient Rome. If we were living then, I’m sure you’d be defending that same practice.

          I’m glad that you at least concede that if there are alternatives which preserve this so-called “bodily autonomy”, the child must be cared for. If you want to remain consistent, then, you have to admit that no viable unborn child may be aborted.

  10. Ted H. says:

    Abortions are not wonderful things to contemplate. It seems to me however, that people of a conservative, right wing mind set who are vocal about opposing abortion politically and even making abortion illegal are the same people who favour cuts to the types of social programs that might provide counselling and assistance to young women who find themselves in trouble.

  11. Paul D. says:

    Harper didn’t bother to ask me, a Canadian taxpayer, how – or on what conditions – I wanted this money dispersed. His philosophical position on abortion is not mine. What rankles the most is that he does not give a damn about the recipients – or lack thereof – of our foreign aid; he is pandering to his domestic bedrock of conservatives, so many of whom are so dogmatic on this issue. I do not deny them the freedom to think what they want; I do, however, strongly object to their position that their way is the only way.

  12. Ginger says:

    I only want to add how heartened I am to see the comments on this post. I was deeply disturbed when this issue first came up that there didn’t seem to be much opposition. Thank you to the silent majority. You have helped to reaffirm my faith in people with your willingness to have rational science based discussions around a woman’s sovereign right over her body. While I am forever angry that what I can or cannot do with my autonomous body is seemingly nothing more than a ‘wedge issue’ to both sides of the debate, I am so relieved to see people speak up. Thank you.

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