Trudeau government removes restriction on international development funds being used for abortion services

The Justin Trudeau government has removed a restriction that prevented federal foreign aid dollars being used for abortion services in other countries. The government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had committed billions in Canadian funds for its global maternal, child and newborn health, but banned use of Canadian government money to provide abortion services.The Trudeau government has lifted those restrictions. “Canada is committed to universal access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights,” said Louis Belanger, communications director to International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. “We are also committed to a better and more comprehensive approach to supporting the health of women in developing countries. We believe that programming decisions on these matters should be driven by evidence and outcomes, not ideology.” She also said: “The inclusion or exclusion of specific health services is under the purview of recipient countries. Many governments allow abortion on request or for a variety of reasons including safeguarding the woman’s health.”The Harper commitment to global maternal and child health was CAD $3.5 billion from 2015 to 2020. The Trudeau government will keep that commitment and has allocated CAD $750 million for it in the current fiscal year.The decision was described by the Toronto Sun as “hardly surprising since Trudeau required all candidates who ran under his banner last fall to support a woman’s right to choose”.SOURCE: Toronto Sun, 10 May 2016