September 22, 2010
Speaking in 1987, Margaret Thatcher offered the following governance tip to her fellow leaders: “To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.” Last spring, Stephen Harper, unrolling his G-8 maternal health proposal, heeded her advice. The initiative would save “the lives of mothers and children all over the world,” he said. When public and women’s health advocates asked how, exactly, he proffered an explanation in characteristic doublespeak: “We are not closing the door to any option, and that includes contraception, but we do not want a debate, here or elsewhere, on abortion.” In the same sentence, the prime minister committed to keeping all policy options open, and categorically refused to discuss the most crucial among them — and so Canadian maternal health policy now denies funding for abortion services in the developing world.
Continue reading Sylvia Bashevkin’s essay in the Walrus