reports that women in Canada who have an abortion qualify for maternity benefits, but fortunately not parental benefitsThe Interim reported on this in 2008. As LifeSite explains:

Canada’s employment insurance guidelines reveal that a woman who aborts her child after 19 weeks gestation is eligible to receive 17 weeks of maternity leave, the same as a mother who gives birth.  For an abortion occurring before 19 weeks gestation, the woman can collect sick leave for the same length of time.

It is odd that the benefits a woman who has an abortion collects depends upon some artificial timeline, the 19-week mark of pregnancy. However, it could open up an interesting strategy for pro-lifers to note that federal regulations recognize some similarity between a child after 19 weeks and the child who is born. Does that arbritrary time mark some sort of moral or legal significance that could justify a cutoff for abortions? (I do not support restrictions based on the age of the unborn child, but I raise the question to make the obvious point that Ottawa recognizes some significance about this point of development.)

Of course, aside from the inconsistency in Canadian law, there is the patently offensive nature of this program, giving maternal benefits to women who have denied their child life. As was noted in 2008:

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, told The Interim that initially, he could not believe the story, but when he confirmed the details, found it outrageous. “Giving maternity benefits to women who kill their unborn babies, who deny their own maternal instinct, makes a mockery of the program.” Hughes described as “Orwellian” the idea that a woman who has an abortion could collect “maternity benefits.”

It is also wrong because employment insurance (under which mat leave is paid) was not designed for this type of thing; EI is meant to assist people who find themselves out of work for reasons beyond their control. No woman need be out of work for having an abortion.

While government officials will not confirm the number of women who have had abortions and sought maternity benefits, those numbers are likely to be low. Few women are going to want to publicize their abortion to their workplace by taking paid time off. But that does not make the existence of these provisions of the maternity benefit program any less offensive or bizarre.