OTTAWA, March 23, 2010 – The Catholic Civil Rights League today criticized the opposition motion in the House of Commons, which demanded that the government’s G-8 maternal health initiative include the “full range” of family planning options.  The motion failed by a vote of 144 to 138.
Adding partisan fuel to the controversy that has dogged the proposal since it was announced in February, the motion called for funding of “the full range of family planning, sexual and reproductive health options, including contraception,” without mentioning abortion, although that has been the central issue in this debate. The motion also drew a parallel to the George W. Bush administration’s ban on federal funding of non-governmental organizations that promoted abortion, calling it a funding ban on “organizations promoting medically sound family planning.”
“It is unfortunate to see politicians using the initiative as a way to advance their agendas on abortion, given the great need for aid on the part of the world’s poorest women and their children,” said Joanne McGarry, executive director of the League.  “The original announcement focused on the provision of medicines, food and safe drinking water, all critical needs in much of the Third World, and it’s disheartening to see that there are parliamentarians who would not support the effort unless it reflects the liberal, western interpretation of women’s health needs.”
Most people have not yet seen the concrete details of the initiative, and the League will not evaluate it until they are available. But we have expressed the hope, both in press releases and in correspondence to the Prime Minister, that it will be pro-life in spirit and in implementation, and focus on the most pressing needs of the world’s poorest.
About CCRL
Catholic Civil Rights League ( assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization and has chapters across Canada. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244;

League letter on media controversy about the G-8 proposal