On March 2, the Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced $20 million in funding for several international agencies in support of “sexual and reproductive health and rights.”
She made the announcement from the She Decides conference in Brussels, where more than 40 countries gathered to work on filling the funding gap created after U.S. President Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City Policy banning American funding of abortion and abortion-related funding overseas. A total of $190 million (U.S.) was pledged at the conference by about a dozen countries, still well short of the estimated $600 million (U.S.) in lost funding.
“Canada is giving $20 million to help promote the killing of innocent human lives,” said Michel MacDonald, executive director of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF). “Is this really the legacy that Prime Minister Trudeau wants to be known for?
Bibeau said the $20 million was only the “beginning” of Canada’s commitment to what will be at the “heart” of its international development program.
“Sexual and reproductive rights will be a pillar of our new policy,” Bibeau said, noting she is convinced this is key to furthering the rights of women and girls.
Bibeau said the initial funding is only what could be scraped together on short notice, but more is coming.
“We got the message loud and clear from our partners that multi-year funding is important,” she said. “Stay tuned. This announcement is only with a three-week notice.”
She said Canada’s new “signature initiatives” will focus on “women’s empowerment” through sexual and reproductive rights, including sex education, contraception and safe abortion.
While agencies such as Save the Children applauded Bibeau, pro-life groups have reacted with dismay and calls to action.
“International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says ‘the idea is really to give women a choice.’ What about the mother’s unborn child, what choice will she or he have?” MacDonald asked. “The $20 million could be better spent on more positive health care initiatives that support the culture of life.”
“This is sad that Canada’s become a nation that not only wants to export an abortion ideology to developing countries, but also we want to take money from Canadian taxpayers and send it overseas to facilitate the killing of pre-born children,” said Mike Schouten, the director of WeNeedaLaw.ca, a group dedicated to protecting the pre-born. “It angers me that Canada has a government which thinks that issues dealing with women’s health can be solved by paying for them to kill their offspring.”
Matthew Wojciechowski, Campaign Life Coalition’s representative at the United Nations, pointed out the $20 million has been divided among the biggest abortion providers in the world: International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, Population Services International, Ipas and the United Nations Population Fund’s UNFP Supplies.
“In the name of human rights, or women’s rights, what our Canadian government is doing by funding these organizations is putting more vulnerable women at risk. Women who don’t even have access to basic health care,” Wojciechowski said.