Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 8, 2000
CWL rejects pro-abortion stand
Stand by Canadian March for Women doesn't reflect league views, it says
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
The Catholic Women's League and other Catholic organizations have strongly condemned abortion statements made recently in connection with the World March for Women.
"There is no support on the part of the CWL, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops or the Canadian Organization for Development and Peace for the recent abortion statement made in connection with March 2000," provincial CWL president Lucille Partington says in a recent press release.
The statement was distributed April 29 to the almost 290 delegates attending the 78th annual convention of the Edmonton Archdiocesan Catholic Women's League at Edmonton Greenwood Inn.
The World March for Women, a worldwide campaign for the elimination of poverty and all forms of violence against women, involves 4,190 groups from 153 countries.
As one of the participating groups, the Canadian Women's March Committee has included in its list of 59 demands one that concerns access to abortion for women.
Partington told the CWL convention delegates, "We do not support this. The international declaration for March 2000 does not refer to abortion and we are shocked that a small group in Canada would come to that interpretation.
"In my view, abortion is a form of violence and we strongly expressed our concerns in this province to the organizing committee and have asked them to return to the correct centrality or suffer the jeopardy of any support of the CWL in Alberta-Mackenzie."
The World March of Women started in Quebec many years ago and the CWL joined it six years ago. It goes from March 8, International Women's Day, to Oct. 17, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The CWL, Development and Peace and the CCCB are among many Catholic organizations supporting the march.
Development and Peace has financially assisted the international march organizers to promote the effort worldwide and involve women in the Third World. It has not given financial support to the Canadian march organizers who included the abortion statement.
"Development and Peace and the Catholic organizations supporting the march do not support abortion," says a recent CCODP statement. "Nor does our support for the march imply this in any way. We support the world demands of the march which contain no reference to abortion."
In an interview, Partington said the CWL will continue to work for the elimination of poverty and violence against women worldwide but not under a pro-abortion banner. "We have to make clear that we are not going to accept a pro-abortion agenda."
In a joint statement, Partington and Edmonton archdiocesan president Mary-Lou Veeken urged CWL members "not to march under a banner that is not in accordance with our faith and belief."
"We follow Catholic teaching and the direction of Pope John Paul II in all matters in this province," they say.
Veeken said the CWL still supports the goals of the international march and will continue to enhance its efforts to reduce poverty and violence.
"We will document our activities to our partners, the Women's Inter-Church Council of Canada and the organizing committee of March 2000 in Canada," the joint statement says.
The CWL will announce mentoring programs to assist young and single mothers living in poverty at its annual convention in June in Calgary.