Senator Enverga poses questions about Funding for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights to the Government Representative in the Senate
Recently, the Liberal government announced $650 million in spending on sexual and reproductive health rights. This money is earmarked, in part, to support those seeking the procurement of abortions and post-abortion care. While other areas of grave concern are ever present, such as female genital mutilation and sexual gender-based violence, the Liberal government insists on siphoning funds away from these urgent lifesaving initiatives to, instead, give financial assistance to those seeking means to end a life. As the March for Life rally, which gives a voice to unborn children, was in full-force on the Hill, the Honourable Tobias C. Enverga Jr., Ontario Senator, asked the Government Representative in the Senate the following question:
Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: Honourable senators, my question is for the Government Representative in the Senate.
On March 8 this year, the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie announced $650 million for sexual and reproductive health and rights. The list of what this funding will focus on specifically is long, but it ends with “. . . support the right to choose safe and legal abortion, as well as access to post-abortion care.”
This statement raises a lot of concerns and questions. First, is the Trudeau government planning to advocate for changing laws in sovereign countries? Is it now the policy of the government to give support only to countries that will allow killing unborn children? How much of the $650 million is planned to be spent on counselling for and for performing abortions, and for the post-abortion care versus other areas mentioned, such as female genital mutilation, child marriages and sexual gender-based violence?
There are currently thousands and thousands of people outside taking part in the March for Life rally. What you like to tell them about this?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I thank the honourable senator for his question. I want to assure this house that the policy of this government is that the broad range of reproductive health issues ought to be funded in our development programs. That broad range is described in the question of the honourable senator, and the government is committed to increasing our efforts on reproductive health all across the world.
Senator Enverga: I have been told by the Government Representative in the past not to speculate on policy implications resulting from changes in the United States of America, but are we seeing increasing abortion funding from Canada now because our southern neighbours are ending theirs?
Senator Harder: Again, I thank the honourable senator for his question. He will know that, as a result of decisions taken by the American administration, there has been broad consultation among like-minded countries to do what they can to make up the funding gap that the withdrawal of Planned Parenthood funding internationally provokes. In that regard, the minister responsible in Canada attended a series of meetings — the most recent I believe was in Holland — where further commitments were made by all of those attending to ensure that the global response and the need identified globally for reproductive health across the range of reproductive health responses is appropriately funded.