Canadian organizations working in sexual and reproductive health denounce the inconsistency of Canada’s Conservative government regarding women's health

Thursday, October 10 2013

Montreal, October 9, 2013 – Following the statements made last week by the Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird and International Development Minister Christian Paradis, Canadian groups working on sexual and reproductive health question the genuine commitment of the Conservative government's Women's Health foreign policies.

In late September, Stephen Harper and his government tried to reaffirm their international leadership in women's health by pointing to the funds invested by Canada in the health of mothers, newborns and children, and taking a position against forced marriages of girls and rape as a weapon of war.

Yet this same government refuses to support or fund access to abortion in developing countries, even in cases of rape and forced marriage. It is well documented that girls are more likely to die in childbirth than adult women, that 47,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe abortion, and millions more are injured and mutilated by the poor conditions associated with the intervention.

“How can we take seriously the government’s concern for the health of women internationally, while it refuses to fund a basic service that is integral to the right to health, as recognized by the Special Rapporteur of the UN? "asks Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “We need consistent policies around women's health.”

Women and girls have special needs in reproductive and sexual health, and access to legal and safe abortion is as important as access to quality contraception and safe childbirth services.

"In Canada, we have fought for all women to have access to sexual and reproductive health services tailored to their needs, and will continue to do so. Likewise, we stand in solidarity with women around the world. We urge this government to put aside political and ideological posturing and take concrete steps to truly become an international leader in the field of women's health," says Sophie Cordes, spokesperson for the Quebec Federation for Planned Parenthood.

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