Paul Tuns:

Lucy Akello, a member of the Ugandan Parliament, presented in person to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on March 7 as the committee examined the topic of global sexual and reproductive health, telling the Canadian legislators that Africa does not want or need abortion and contraception exported to their continent from Western nations.

The Trudeau government has pledged more than a billion dollars to export contraception and abortion to developing countries, mostly as part of its “Feminist International Assistance Policy,” which commits $700 million annually for “sexual and reproductive health and rights” in the developing world. The money goes in part to directly fund abortions and contraception, but is also used to lobby countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to liberalize their abortion laws and provide sex education. Taxpayer money helps fund pro-abortion organizations such as International Planned Parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, and Women Deliver.

Conservative MP Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan), vice chair of the Foreign Affairs committee, extended an invitation to Akello to provide an African point of view on the “development priorities of local women in Uganda.” Genuis told the committee “how can we ensure that our development assistance relates to local priorities instead of bringing in predetermined Western priorities?”

Akello, who represents the Amuru District Women’s Constituency in Northern Uganda, said, “Our people are still loyal to religious truths and cultures,” as she urged committee members to focus on education, housing, and clean drinking water when sending aid to the developing world. She said that slick marketing campaigns make “abortion look good” to African women.

She said, “The women I represent are able to see through this” because “We believe life starts from conception.” She explained, “Where I come from, once conception takes place, it is life. And even when you get a miscarriage, that life is given a decent burial, irrespective of the sex. Africa generally finds abortion repugnant.”

Akello said before she became an elected representative, she worked in civil society and that then “when the donors would come to us, they would ask, ‘What are your values, what does your culture say about this, this, and this?’ And, they would say, ‘we will fit into your culture’.” Now, she says, non-government organizations come in and “the donors come and tell you that ‘you must fit in our values, you must fit in our culture’.” She said this latter approach is “wrong.”

Akello pointed to surveys that show most Africans reject abortion and that, “Almost 80 per cent of African countries have some sort of law prohibiting and restricting abortion.” She said those laws are “predicated on a widely held belief that unborn babies have a right to live and deserve to be protected by law. With this relevant view of abortion, most people are satisfied with these laws.”

She criticized the influx of hormonal contraception through Western foreign aid, saying it is harming the health of African women.

Akello criticized the Western push for “comprehensive sexuality education” in Uganda, which she says promotes homosexuality, gender-confusion, and promiscuity. “The parents I represent see comprehensive sexuality education as an assault to the health and innocence of children,” noting that “girls as young as 13, 14” are given contraception.

Akello pled with the committee – and to the Canadian government – to provide foreign aid that “keeps the girl-child at school as opposed to giving them contraceptives.” She urged them to “respect Uganda as a sovereignty.”

Dr. Theresa Okafor of the Foundation for Cultural Heritage also addressed the committee. She said Africans are “deeply concerned” about the “paternalism” and “imperialist approach” used by the West, including Canada, in how it provides aid as a carrot to change laws and export western priorities. “Support for the African woman should not be one which strips her of her right to family stability, a right to raise her intellectual and moral compass, a right to economic empowerment, and social inclusivity, also known as, equity and proper health care,” Okafor said. “These rights are largely ignored and substituted with unsolicited rights to abortion — ‘safe abortion,’ whatever that means — contraception, comprehensive sexuality education, to mention a few.” She said that Canada’s foreign aid is funding illegal abortions throughout Africa.

Okafor said Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy is “becoming less about aid, empowerment, health care, and poverty reduction, and more about ideological colonization.” “Many African countries are overflowing with condoms and contraception from the West sent to us to fulfill a fictitious ‘unmet need’ for contraception when what we really need is water, food, housing, employment, and quality education that can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty,” she said. Okafor said sexualizing African women will not lead the continent’s development.

Akello also referred to the Trudeau Feminist Assistance Foreign Policy as a form of colonialism: “Africa has a long history of colonization, just like Canada, of people, foreign governments, foreign-led organizations telling us what is good for us or what our priorities should be.”

Liberal MP Robert Oliphant (Don Valley West) – an openly homosexual United Church minister — criticized Akello and her Parliament for their opposition to same-sex “marriage” and efforts to decriminalize homosexual acts, saying such laws are “outdated, have no bearing in science, in religion, or in law” that would ““isolate Uganda from the rest of the world.”

CLC director of communications Pete Baklinski said that Oliphant was “preaching from his white colonial soap box.” He added that “Ugandan MP Akello and Nigerian Dr. Okafor are to be lauded for their courage in facing the Canadian government and telling it to stop destroying the future of the African people through contraception and abortion.”

In 2021, CLC released a documentary film, Obsession: Canada’s Coercive Diplomacy, featuring Nigeria-born pro-life advocate Obianuju Ekeocha and former Canadian diplomat to China David Mulroney. It revealed how the Trudeau government uses development aid to force developing countries to accept abortion, contraception, age-inappropriate sex education, and the promotion of homosexuality and transgender identities.

Also addressing the committee was the Guttmacher Institute’s Elizabeth Sully who fretted that the reversal of Roe in 2022 could lead to “backsliding” in Western support for exporting abortion and contraception to Africa. Sully said abortion must be made available in the developing world because “Contraceptive methods fail … they all fail at some point or another. And so, we need a second line of defense, and that’s safe abortion.”