International Development—Programs and InitiativesPublished on 28 February 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Mobina Jaffer
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
My question is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. As you know, the Trump administration’s new global gag rule prohibits aid to non- governmental organizations around the world that perform or discuss abortion or family planning options.
This freeze stands to affect as much as $600 million in funding to NGOs that support reproductive health efforts in other countries. Now that the biggest global funder of NGOs will no longer be present, there is a significant amount that needs to be made up. Many governments, including the Netherlands and other European governments, are stepping up to help the people who need it most. Preventable child and maternal deaths, fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic and protecting communities from infectious diseases that could affect reproductive health, all are essential services that are used around the world.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, 225 million women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using safe and effective family planning methods for reasons ranging from lack of access to information or services, or plainly just resources.
On February 27, Minister Bibeau stated that Canada “will definitely increase the proportion of our international assistance budget to sexual and reproductive health rights and the full range of services.” With that said, the government has not proposed any actual action that it would take or actual funds that it would commit to accomplish the goals that Minister Bibeau has set out. Could you tell us what steps the government will take?