Canadian Minister for International Cooperation Beverley Oda appears to be taking a different stance on Canada’s contribution to the international effort to improve maternal health in developing countries.
“Fresh from a fact-finding trip to Mali and Mozambique, Stephen Harper’s minister in charge of delivering the federal government’s $1.1-billion commitment to improving maternal and child health, is singing a different tune, and it is one that includes funding for family planning and even indirect support for abortion, if Canada is asked,” Elizabeth Payne of the Ottawa Citizen says.
Oda has announced earlier this year that Canada will not support abortion in poor countries as part of its pledge to help improve maternal and child health, as Devex reported. Canada’s conservative government has come under fire, domestically and internationally, for the said decision.
Upon returning from her African trip, Payne notes that Oda seems to have brought home with her a “more nuanced vision” of how the country can help prevent maternal deaths in the developing world.
Oda said Canada could provide indirect support to the abortion infrastructure in countries where the practice is legal, Payne says.
“As long as it is legal within the country and it’s a legal procedure … if we were asked to help in that way, we would do that,” Oda explains according to Payne.
Meanwhile, the International Planned Parenthood Federation said it is currently in “active talks” with the Canadian government about its funding request with the Canadian International Development Agency.
As Devex reported, the organization has been waiting for feedback from Canada regarding a funding request it filed more than a year ago. IPPF’s latest funding agreement with CIDA ended December 2009.
Oda, however, has denied that the Canadian government is close to reaching a decision to reinstate support for the organization, the Ottawa Citizen reports. The minister said the news is “very inaccurate.”
“CIDA has neither called for, nor received, applications from any organization for funding under Canada’s MNCH G-8 initiative, therefore no applications have been considered,” Oda wrote in a letter to the newspaper.