By Interim Staff

A coalition of pro-life, pro-family voices has come together to provide a fresh perspective on issues effecting women in Ontario.

The impetus for the coalition comes from the mainstream media’s tendency to present the feminist/pro-abortion view as representative of the majority of women. This was especially evident in press reports of a March 26 media conference at which Judy Rebick, former head of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, criticized the Ontario government for funding changes, which she says, could limit access to abortion and contraceptive services.

Rebick was joined at the media conference by officials with the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL) and other feminist groups who charged that plans to close some Ontario hospitals, and to unload some health care costs on local municipalities, unfairly targets women’s interests.

The pro-life coalition is led by Jakki Jeffs, the executive director of Alliance for Life Ontario. Other members include Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition, June Scandiffio of Toronto Right to Life, Judy Anderson of REAL Women of Canada, Mary Ann Miller of Alliance for Life, Emma Maan of Ontario Students for Life, Peggy Nastasiuk of the Ontario Catholic Women’s League, and Jane Evans of the Women Alive organization.

“The aim of the coalition is to give the media an all-round version of what women in Ontario are thinking,” Jeffs told The Interim. “We’re tired of having only one side represented when it comes to women’s issues.”

In a letter to major Ontario newspapers-which was largely unpublished – the pro-life women’s coalition said Rebick and company hardly speak for the women of Ontario. The group also presented its own concerns about women’s health, including the lack of a minimum age of consent stipulation for health care in the province, and a re-examination of the financial resources made available for abortion.

“It’s about time we questioned this vast expenditure on ‘elective medical procedure’, which cures no illness, injury or disease, but does result in the death of the unborn child,” the coalition said in its letter. “We wish to see public money invested in life giving options and we believe that at the municipal level, such measures can be more carefully deliberated and instituted than at the provincial level.”

Although the coalition was formed in response to the funding changes issue, it plans to remain in existence to express the pro-family view on respect for life concerns. The coalition plans to appeal to the recently organized “family caucus” on 34 MPPs in Ontario legislature. As well, the group will respond to media inquires on life and family concerns.

The coalition is also preparing a letter expressing its views to Ontario health minister Jim Wilson.