by Marissa Poisson
It’s been a beautiful Easter weekend and signs of spring abound. There are buds on the trees, the birds are chirping and Canadians have emerged from hibernation. Yet I can’t help but think about the new lives that aren’t welcomed into the world. Abortion may not be a pleasant subject to contemplate on a sunny day, but recent events remind us that we are all involved whether we like it or not.
Abortion funding has been receiving a lot of attention lately with the United States’ health care reform and Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative. There was much debate in the U.S. about whether abortions should be publicly funded under the new legislation, and in the end Barack Obama signed an executive order against using tax dollars to pay for abortions, though it was seen as a largely symbolic gesture. It bears remembering that in Canada, where abortion is legal at any point during a pregnancy, publicly funded abortions are standard practice; taxpayers are billed over $80 million for the 100,000 abortions performed every year. However, we don’t stop at funding abortions domestically. The International Planned Parenthood Federation, the world’s largest abortion provider, has received $18 million from Canadian taxpayers over the past four years. Ottawa Students for Life has supported a petition that calls for the Government of Canada to cease this funding. The G8 maternal and child health initiative should be a noble, straightforward effort to provide women and children in developing countries with access to clean water, nutrition programs, inoculations and trained health care workers. Any aid dollars used to export abortion would be aid dollars taken away from those goals.
Interestingly, public funding of abortion doesn’t fit with some of the pro-choice rhetoric. If abortion is all about choice, why are those who oppose it nevertheless forced to fund it? Is an abortion really only between a woman and her doctor when it is paid for by the public? Of course, the financial cost should be the last reason used to oppose abortion. But we can’t say abortion doesn’t concern us when we’re funding it. By remaining silent, we remain complicit. Canadian tax dollars should be used to provide real support to women who are faced with challenging pregnancies because women and unborn children deserve better than abortion in Canada and around the world. This spring, let’s work together to celebrate and support life even when it is born of difficult circumstances.