Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Clinton says what our government won't

In no uncertain terms today, at the G8 foreign ministers news conference, one of the big headlines coming out of it: "Clinton: Contraception must be part of maternal health plan."
Any global plan to enhance maternal health must include strategies to boost access to birth control, says U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"You can not have maternal health without reproductive health," Clinton said during a news conference with G8 foreign ministers Tuesday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has pledged to make maternal health a top priority for the G8, touching off a raging domestic debate over whether access to contraception and abortion should be part of the plan.

Clinton said the American position is to promote contraception as a way to avoid abortion. But she insisted governments should steer clear from intervening in "areas of such intimacy."
More direct talk from Clinton:
"Reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal safe abortions," she said during a news conference.

"If we are concerned about abortion, then women should have access to family planning.
Clinton knows what's been going on in our national political debate over the past week or so. With every word she speaks while present here she demonstrates a sophisticated sense and knowledge of Canada and its political issues. The explicit mention of abortion, without mincing words, likely an intentional strong message to the Harper government. It's head shaking time when the government of Canada can't even plainly commit to contraception being part of a major overseas maternal health initiative.

Time for the Harper government to stop couching the issue in cute metaphors such as no doors being closed, etc. and fully get on board with the broad consensus of G8 nations that of course, family planning services must be part of any rational, effective initiative. More science and less politics, in other words.