Demonstrators gathered in downtown Montreal on Sunday to protest Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision not to fund family planning and abortion services in Canada’s G8 Health Initiative for women and children in the developing world.
In March, the Canadian government officials stated that their initiative to save the lives of women and children in developing nations will not include family planning supplies or services of any sort.
Alexa Conradi, president of the Quebec Women’s Federation told the Montreal Gazette, “Hangers and knitting needles are still what women use around the world when they don’t have accessible and safe abortion services.” The Montreal Gazette reports the 200 women, dressed in black, laid on the ground with coat hangers over their stomachs, symbolizing the 70,000 women around the world who die from unsafe abortions. “We fought to make it legal in Canada,” a protestor, Pia Lironi, said. “It is wrong to say: We can do it, but we have decided that you can’t.”
Keith Martin, a Physician and liberal member of parliament, told The Star that the decision to exclude family planning resources from the G8 program was in contradiction to the goals of the initiative. According to Martin the move will result in “higher abortion rates, more disease, more maternal deaths and more maternal injuries.” He continued, “[Conservatives] can’t say on the one hand they want to save lives…yet on the other, deprive people of having the tools to be able to reduce the death rate. The government is slaughtering good medical practice on the altar of ideology.”
The G8 summit in Huntsville, Ontario will be held June 25 to the 27.