PM praised for adopting Bush abortion policy

U.S. pro-life advocate hails Canada for anti-abortion stand on foreign aid

OTTAWA—Pro-life advocates from the United States say they’re happy that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has adopted former U.S. president George W. Bush’s ban on support for abortions in foreign aid.

“Under President Bush, we had the Mexico City policy, which prohibited exporting abortion. As you know, with President (Barack) Obama, he repealed that policy,” Janet Morana, founder of a pro-life group called Silent No More, told reporters in Ottawa on Thursday morning.

“And so we’re very pleased to see that Canada is taking that pro-life stance, meaning they’re not going to export dollars overseas for abortion.”

Morana and her group are among thousands planning to converge on Parliament Hill on Thursday for the giant “March for Life” – an annual rally and parade to protest against abortion.

The mood at this year’s rally is expected to be buoyant, after Harper’s government announced several weeks ago that Canada would not support any foreign-aid projects that include abortion. Harper made that decision after the Commons voted in March against a Liberal motion to support the “full range” of family-planning options in aid overseas, including abortion.

The motion failed, in large part, because Liberals tried to use the vote to link Harper’s policies to those of the former Republican president – a link that at least one pro-life advocate acknowledged at Thursday’s press conference.

A few dozen MPs – mainly Conservatives with a few Liberals — are expected to lend their backing to the rally and the cause, according to Rod Bruinooge, a Conservative MP who heads the “Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus.”

At a press conference on Thursday morning to publicize the efforts of Silent No More, a group that urges women to know the potential negative effects of abortion, Bruinooge and others made clear that they are not pushing for abortions to be illegal or banned in Canada.

“For us, it’s not whether abortion is legal or illegal. We want to make it unthinkable,” Morana said.

Bruinooge says he accepts Harper’s long-stated refusal to open up any debate over abortion legislation in Canada. Thursday’s rally is purely for information purposes, he said.

“The goal of the pro-life movement in general is to acknowledge that the unborn have value, that they’re human and we as a society need to consider their value. And I think that’s a message that’s beginning to come out,” Bruinooge said.

He would not comment, however, on whether the movement has gained strength because the increasing clout of the Christian right in Canada, as asserted in a newly released book, Armageddon, by Canadian journalist Marci MacDonald.

“In our country there’s a number of faith groups … there’s Sikhs, Hindus that have many similar philosophical viewpoints to Christians, and I think that many people, from various theological communities, suggest various ideas that I think are important to public policy,” Bruinooge said. “On the life issues, I know that not only are Christians generally supportive of pro-life politics, but I know Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists are as well.”

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