At our website,, we comment on current news items at our blog Soconvivium ( During the debate on the Liberal motion to require that abortion and contraception be made part of the government’s maternal health program (see story on page two), we “live-blogged” the proceedings. Here are excerpts of my comments as the debate progressed.

11:09 am: Liberal MP Keith Martin in his contribution to the debate offered this nugget: “Doesn’t pro-life mean the ability to access safe abortions?” Can Martin himself believe such nonsense? Does he think he will persuade anyone with such a comment?

11:46 am: Bloc Quebecois MP Johanne Deschamps says she doesn’t “understand” how a maternal health program cannot include abortion for 12- and 13-year-olds who were raped in war. Is that the cause of 500,000 pregnant women dying every year or 9 million infants dying prematurely?

NDP MP Peter Julian said 30,000 children will die today due to hunger and charges that the Conservative ideology is opposed to abortion. The assumption seems to be if the well-refuted argument that there would be less hunger if only there weren’t so damn many people. Who’s being ideological now?

… Earlier Keith Martin said Canadian women have the right to abortion so the government is wrong to deny women abroad those same rights. But in many countries, abortion is not a right. Does Martin want to impose Canadian values abroad? Is he know a moral colonizer?

Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs are repeatedly charging the Conservative government with being ideological and ignoring the “science” that proves the need for contraception and abortion.

12:27 pm: Liberal MP and former Minister of International Cooperation Maria Minna said that the current minister, Bev Oda, should resign because she isn’t doing her job if the government won’t fund contraception as part of maternal health. Is acting on behalf of Planned Parenthood part of the job description of Minister of International Cooperation?

12:52 pm: Keith Martin asked Candice Hoeppner that if she is truly pro-life why doesn’t she support giving women in the developing world the right to abortion. Hoeppner said she won’t be baited by the Liberals into debating abortion and accused Martin of playing politics with women’s health. Nice turning it around on the Grits…

The government wants to talk about health, nutrition and clean water; the Liberals want to talk about abortion and condoms.

1:54 pm: Bloc MP Nicole Demers apologized to women in the developing world for the “misfortune” of becoming pregnant in countries that don’t have health care. Demers lamented the lack of basic health care in the developing world. But isn’t that what the Conservative government is trying to address by focusing their maternal health program on clean water, inoculations, safe deliveries and nutrition programs?

4:41 pm: Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett said that abortion and contraception will be supported by Canadian taxpayer dollars only where they are already legal, which is the first time today any opposition MP has suggested such a limitation. She introduced a new formulation: abortion is a choice “between (sic) a woman, her doctor and, ah, her country.” Interesting phrase from an abortion rights defender; it implicitly admits that a country can regulate or restrict abortion.

4:58 pm: NDP MP Libby Davies on abortion as part of maternal health: “This is about empowering women.” And if we don’t offer abortion to women in the developing world Canada becomes “an international embarrassment, just like Copenhagen.”

5:45: The motion defeated 138-144. It appeared that three Liberals voted against the motion … Liberal strategist on CBC Newsworld John Duffy vowed that the issue isn’t going away.

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