Hamilton bishop lashes Liberals over abortion policy
Catholic leaders are criticizing the Trudeau government for allowing “political ideology” to dictate its advocacy of abortion rights in its new feminist international development policy.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is also questioning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for spending hundreds of millions more on the issue than on famine in Africa, and the emphasis on family planning that came when International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau unveiled Canada’s retooled foreign aid policy.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Bibeau in her mandate letter that the continued policy should be “driven by evidence and outcomes, not ideology, including by closing existing gaps in reproductive rights and health care for women.”
However, in a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in response to her June 6 foreign policy speech, Bishop Douglas Crosby said the Liberal policy is also ideologically based.
“In these uncertain times, when Canada’s voice and leadership do matter on everything from climate change to global peace, political ideology cannot be allowed to dictate foreign policy and to override common sense and our humanitarian responsibilities to those in need,” Crosby, the president of the organization, wrote.
Crosby, Bishop of the Diocese of Hamilton, questioned Trudeau’s announcement earlier this year to earmark $650 million toward abortion and sexual reproductive rights when the government has spent $119.25 million toward famine relief in South Sudan, Yemen, northeast Nigeria and Somalia. With 20 million people at risk of starvation, the United Nations has called it the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.
“Should this unfolding disaster not have prompted the prime minister to prioritize relief and aid over politicking at the lavish expense of hardworking taxpayers in Canada?”
Crosby said that with so many people from different backgrounds and religions, there is no consensus in Canada over abortion, and to state that “there is universal agreement on a single set of Canadian values itself is contrived.”
Adam Austen, a spokesman for Freeland, reiterated the minister’s unequivocal stance on the issue laid out in her speech last month, saying “women’s rights are human rights.”
“This includes the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls, and the right to safe and legal abortion,” he said.
“The empowerment of women and girls everywhere in the world begins with their right to be in control of their bodies.”
The bishops had also written to Bibeau in March to raise concerns about the government’s plans to fund sexual and reproductive health.
“Safe, reliable and high quality family planning services, when used effectively, should reduce the recourse to abortion, decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and improve the health and rights of women,” Bibeau’s reply stated.
Catholic bishops are criticizing the Liberals for allowing "political ideology" to dictate advocacy of abortion rights in its new development policy.