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Foreign Minister Says Canada’s G8 Maternal, Child Health Plan Will Not Include Abortion

At this summer’s G8 meeting, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will move forward with his “‘signature initiative’ on maternal and children’s health, despite disagreements with the United States and Britain over funding for abortion in the developing world, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon says,” the Globe and Mail reports (McCarthy, 4/4).

During a G8 foreign ministers’ meeting last week in Gatineau, Canada, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that access to family planning and abortion are important elements to improving maternal health, CTV News reports (4/3).  Last week Clinton said, “You cannot have maternal health without reproductive health, and reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions,” the Toronto Star writes (4/5).

According to the Global and Mail, Cannon said, “I think Mrs. Clinton expressed not her government’s position; she expressed her personal point of view. .. I think that as we move forward with this initiative – which is extremely important in terms of saving and helping young children as well as mothers – that’s going to be discussed.” The Global and Mail reports that Cannon “added, however, that the government has ‘closed the door on the abortion part.’ The government argues it does not want a valuable initiative to improve the lives of women and children in the developing world to be scuttled by a contentious debate over abortion” (4/4).

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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.