New Democrats slam Conservative anti-choice agenda

Inexcusable for Conservatives to exclude war rape victims and child brides from maternal health funding

Conservatives must abandon their anti-choice agenda and agree to fund maternal health programs helping war rape victims and child brides, say New Democrats.

The NDP’s comments came in response to the announcement from International Development Minister Christian Paradis that Canada will not fund overseas projects giving war rape victims and child brides access to safe abortion.

“It is simply shameful to see Conservatives putting their ideology ahead of helping these vulnerable women,” said Official Opposition International Development Critic Hélène Laverdière (Laurier--Sainte-Marie). “This is about helping some of the world’s most at risk women, it’s a shame Minister Paradis and the Conservatives aren’t willing to put aside their own narrow agenda.”

This announcement runs counter to the Foreign Affairs Minister’s recent emphasis on the plight of child brides.

“In the developing world, complications in childbirth are the number one cause of death for girls aged 15-19,” said Official Opposition Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar. “Just last week Minister Baird told the United Nations that ‘these girls are children; they quite simply are not ready to be parents.’ So why are Conservatives turning their back on them now?”

Official Opposition Status of Women Critic Niki Ashton underlined the connection between rape as a weapon of war and the need to provide women in the developing world with a full range of reproductive options.

“These women have had every choice taken away from them. It’s up to Canada to help be part of the solution, not fight global progress on providing them with services,” Ashton said. “New Democrats will continue stand up for policies that support and respect women, in Canada and around the world.”