Acting on a belief about the value of unborn children is out of step with Canadian society, the country’s Prime Minister has said.
Justin Trudeau made the extraordinary claim during a town hall meeting, when he was asked by a student about ‘the importance of free speech.’
The student pointed out that “if you’re pro-life then you are ridiculed and insulted, but if you’re pro-choice then you are praised”.
In response, Trudeau reiterated his long-standing support for abortion, which he called “a really important right”.
After saying that people were “more than allowed” to hold whatever opinions they like, he added “but, when those beliefs lead to actions determined to restrict a woman’s right to control her own body, that’s where I, and I think we, draw the line as a country”.
Trudeau added: “An organisation that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion, the right for women to control their own bodies, is not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society.”
‘Out of touch’
The Campaign Life Coalition criticised Trudeau, pointing towards a Supreme Court ruling which declared that there is “a legitimate right for Parliament to legislate” on abortion.
Canadian MP Brad Trost also said: “That’s discrimination. Canadians are allowed to have different political views than the government of the day and they shouldn’t have their funding cut off because they disagree with the government.”
And Jeanne Mancini, the President of March for Life, accused the Prime Minister of being “out of touch”.
Canada’s Employment Minister Patty Hajdu recently said that church groups must support abortion to take part in the country’s new Summer Jobs scheme.
The Government scheme, described by critics as ‘discriminatory’ and ‘totalitarian’, forces some employers to sign an “attestation” to agree with “reproductive rights”.
Small businesses, non-profit organisations and public sector employers use the scheme to create summer jobs for students between the age of 15 and 30.
The Government says that church groups would not lose out “as long as their core mandate agrees with those hard won rights and freedoms that Canadians expect us to stand up for”.
The Canadian Council of Christian Charities (CCCC) has said it has been “overwhelmed” with members who say they cannot in good conscience sign the attestation.
Barry W. Bussey of the CCCC said: “People are very concerned.”