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Canadian Prime Minister Says He’s Open To Including Contraception In G8 Plan For Improving Maternal, Child Health

“Facing a squall of condemnation from aid groups and opposition politicians,” following statements by Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon that Canada’s G8 maternal and child health initiative would not include family planning, Prime Minister Stephen Harper “disavowed his foreign minister Thursday, promising that the federal government would include contraception programs in its maternal-health foreign-aid initiative,” the Globe and Mail reports.

“The government is seeking a dialogue with the countries of the G8 to save the lives of mothers and children all over the world,” Harper said during an address to the House of Commons. “We are not closing the door to any option, and that includes contraception, but we do not want a debate, here or elsewhere, on abortion” (Ibbitson, 3/18).

In response to Cannon’s statements on Tuesday, “Opposition MPs immediately slammed the government over the issue, accusing it of being blinded by a social conservative ideology. They argued that the promotion of contraception would save more lives, by reducing unwanted pregnancies, deaths from unsafe abortions and the spread of HIV/AIDS,” CBC News reports. According to the newspaper, Cannon admitted he had misspoken on the policy (3/18).

The Globe and Mail adds Cannon “insisted that this government would not fund new family planning initiatives that include the option of abortion, though other G8 governments might choose to do otherwise” (3/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.