Bishop Gerald Wiesner
OTTAWA — Two Catholic organizations have blasted International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda’s decision to grant the International Planned Parenthood Federation $6 million in new funding.
In an Oct. 4 letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Bishop Gerald Wiesner of Prince George, chairman of the board of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF), expressed dismay that “the world’s largest abortion provider and promoter” would receive a CIDA grant over the next three years.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) “works aggressively to dismantle abortion laws in countries where abortion is prohibited and to have abortion recognized as a universal human ‘right,’” Wiesner wrote.
“It would be naïve, therefore, to think that Canadian tax dollars will not be used by IPPF to promote abortion in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Mali, Sudan and Tanzania” he said.
The funding is allocated to health care and education programs in those five countries where abortion is now illegal.
“Under the guise of ‘education’ this money will be used to advance IPPF’s fallacious claim that access to abortion is necessary in order to prevent maternal deaths and to promote women’s health,” Wiesner wrote.
“The fact is that abortion destroys lives,” he said. “Thousands of women who have been hurt by abortion are speaking out today, hoping to help others avoid the physical, emotional and psychological suffering they have endured.”
COLF is co-sponsored by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Knights of Columbus.
The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) also protested the grant.
In a letter to both Harper and Oda, Joanne McGarry of CCRL said funding for IPPF is “not in keeping with Canada’s conditions on its portion of the G8 program for maternal and child health, which specifically stated that abortion would not be funded.”
The grant will not stop the organization from advocating for abortion in the five countries and it “will merely reallocate its resources to serve its interests,” she said.
Meanwhile, MaterCare, a small Catholic charity that directly serves pregnant mothers in the developing world, has been denied funding for the 11th time, according to a recent news report.
“We were told that we would never get funding simply because we wouldn’t provide reproductive health – that we were ‘too Catholic’ and too close to the pope,” Dr. Robert Walley, president of MaterCare International, told the Catholic News Agency.
Conservative MP Brad Trost, who led the campaign in the Tory caucus to defund IPPF said he will continue to speak against his government’s decision.
He urged concerned Canadians to write letters not only to the prime minister and the international cooperation minister but to their local MPs.
Trost urged the sending of personal letters rather than form letters and polite telephone calls.