OTTAWA, February 3, 2010 – On February 2, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper “to assure Canadians that he won’t change Canada’s long-standing tradition of recognizing women’s reproductive rights and access to contraception as part of his maternal health initiative, and will work in full partnership with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).” Joanne McGarry, executive director of The Catholic Civil Rights League, has these comments:
Mr. Harper had announced Jan. 27 that he would encourage all G-8 nations to join Canada in a “major initiative” promoting maternal and child health in developing countries. His announcement did not provide a detailed analysis of this plan, but emphasized clean water, immunization and the provision of adequate food as cornerstones. The League wrote to the Prime Minister to thank him for his commitment to maternal and child health, and to express the hope that it would be implemented by organizations respectful of the sanctity of all human life. In our experience, there are truly inspiring figures involved in foreign aid who are completely pro-life.
It’s no great surprise that there are politicians and journalists who turn an international aid commitment into an effort to bolster their claim that the Harper government has an agenda to reduce women’s rights and decrease access to abortion and child care. In this case, the Liberal Party’s own press release listed pro-life statements made by Conservatives going back as far as 1990 in an effort to keep the story going. It is disturbing to see such finger-pointing in this regard, as though a commitment to respect for life is a sign of lack of fitness for public life.
Perhaps someone will educate Mr. Ignatieff about the outspoken pro-lifers within the Liberal party, and other parties for that matter. The League does not engage in partisan politics because, like millions of Canadians, we regard respect for life as a good thing in a candidate and we know that there are candidates in all parties who share that sentiment.  
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;

Articles of interest on this issue:

Ignatieff’s abortion plan “pathetic”: Bishops (National Post, Feb. 6)

Bishop Criticizes MP’s comments on aid plan (LifeSite News, Feb. 23)