The Canadian government’s ‘signature initiative’ for the G8, its focus on improving women’s and infant health, won’t include birth control.
The Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon made clear yesterday that it’s off the table, clearly due to the government’s fears of upsetting their anti-abortion base. It is troubling enough that they don’t respect the right to choose – now they’re equating abortion with all forms of family planning.
How can the government be serious about the plight of mothers around the world if key choices are of the table?
Regardless, this whole initiative is likely to be window dressing anyway. How is the Conservative government equipped to fight for women’s health and rights around the world when it has systematically eroded those same rights and opportunities in Canada?
They eliminated the national childcare program proposed by the Liberals, they closed Status on Women offices across the country, and cut money to numerous women’s organizations.
Further, women’s health goes much deeper than funding and access to contraception. If governments don’t include a strategy to deal with the economic insecurity capitalism has created for women around the world, little is possible. Health care solutions (though they are important) that don’t acknowledge the sources of poverty and poor health are not nearly enough. Medicalized, band-aid solutions have been proposed for years, and poor health is as rampant as ever.
But, of course, anything that might question globalization’s own role in this economic precariousness is surely off the G8 discussion table (and far away in another room).