'We must not let it distract us from the great opportunity that lies before us' - Macleans.ca

‘We must not let it distract us from the great opportunity that lies before us’

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Liberal Keith Martin takes stock of the abortion debate and offers a solution.

With respect to the thorny issue of abortion, Mr. Harper should embrace the standard medical position championed by the World Health Organization, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and indeed previous Liberal and Conservative governments. This position is to support women’s access to safe abortions in those countries where it is legal. Many members of the Conservative government may have their own personal opposition to abortion, and this must be respected. However, they do not have the right to force their views on others when it runs counter to the prevailing scientific consensus…

Mr. Harper can square his opposition to abortion while implementing an effective plan to reduce maternal and childhood mortality by proposing that each G8 country take the lead in one of the inputs required to address this tragic situation. For example, Canada could be the lead nation on training healthcare workers and micronutrients, another country could focus on providing medications, another on access to family planning and safe abortions, etc. In this way, a comprehensive plan that focuses on enabling the world’s poorest to access basic primary care services can be implemented, with the G8 countries dividing responsibilities and target resources.