Headline News By Tonda MacCharles 155 Views

Ottawa pledges $14 billion over 10 years for global women’s health including abortion services

OTTAWA—Starting next year, Canada will spend $14 billion over a 10-year period on global maternal and child health services, with fully half — $700 million annually — dedicated to contraception, legal abortion services and sexuality education in developing countries, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The pledge to spend up to $1.4 billion a year will renew and increase international development spending that was set to expire in 2020. It extends Canada’s contributions until 2030, and expands funding to cover a wide range of education, birth control and abortion services — something the previous Conservative government in Canada, and the United States under Republican administrations has refused to do under the so-called “global gag rule.”

That’s the American policy that bars non-governmental organizations from receiving U.S. aid funds if they provide or advocate for reproductive health or abortion services.

The announcement was met with praise from grassroots non-governmental aid and health organizations here, but criticized by the Conservative Opposition’s foreign affairs critic as pre-election posturing.

Trudeau drew a sharp contrast between his government and other countries — which he didn’t name — who he said are “stepping back” from protecting women’s health and rights globally.

“This is a game changer that will empower 18 million women and girls in developing countries by 2030,” said Trudeau at the international Women Deliver conference in Vancouver.