I admit I was initially unimpressed by the fuss Liberal leader Iggy raised over the lack of abortion funding in Harper’s “maternal and child health” initiative for developing countries. It just seemed like more hypocritical gasbaggery from a party so infested with anti-choicers and lacking in testicular fortitude that it couldn’t even pass a motion on the issue.
I’d assumed the government might just be trying to use scarce foreign aid dollars as efficiently as possible, as in “post-natal” maternal care rather than reproductive health in general. Why would Harper invite a confrontation over abortion? In spite of the mewling and puling of his socon base, it’s not like Harper welcomes the opportunity to debate the issue: he typically reacts to it as though he’s stepped on a poison snake.
But hey — even I am wrong (sometimes). Today the government confirmed that abortion won’t be included in the maternal health initiative, which will cover just about everything else including contraception:
The federal Conservatives say they will not provide funding for abortions as part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s centrepiece initiative for the G8 this year to improve maternal and child health in developing countries around the world.
It is the clearest statement yet on the government’s position on the issue — a position which the government has appeared to modify several times in the face of opposition from domestic political opponents, as well as international allies. [...]
In a parliamentary debate on the issue last month, (International Co-operation Minister Bev) Oda said, “what we have said is that we are open to considering all options, including contraception, and addressing them.“
Well… contraception is birth control, and abortion is also birth control — yeah yeah, SHRIEEEEK! — albeit the birth control of last resort. So that puts the boots to my little theory about fiscal efficiency, and strongly suggests there are ideological motivations behind the way this initiative is shaking out. And why not? It’s not often you get to dog whistle your base without fucking with any actual voters.