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Letter to Manitoba Government Ministers/MLAs
Asking Them to Stop Funding Anti-choice Groups

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

May 16, 2017

Instructions for sending letter re:
Manitoba provincial funding for CPCs:

1. Copy and paste the following letter in the body of an email.
2. Customize if desired.
3. Copy and paste these addresses in the ‘To’ box:

premier@leg.gov.mb.ca; minfin@leg.gov.mb.ca; minhsal@leg.gov.mb.ca; minedu@leg.gov.mb.ca; minfs@leg.gov.mb.ca; minsch@leg.gov.mb.ca; flor.marcelino@leg.gov.mb.ca    
4. If desired, you can also customize the letter for your Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), or add them as a cc:  http://www.gov.mb.ca/legislature/members/mla_list_alphabetical.html 
5. Add Subject line:
  Please stop funding Manitoba’s anti-abortion organizations
6. Add your name, address, and phone at end.



To Manitoba Government Premier, Ministers, and Leader of the Opposition:
Premier Brian Pallister
Honourable Minister Cameron Friesen: Finance,
Honourable Minister Ian Wishart: Education and Training
Honourable Minister Rochelle Squires: Status of Women,
Honourable Minister Kelvin Goertzen: Health, Seniors and Active Living
Honourable Minister Scott Fielding: Families
Leader of the Opposition: MLA Flor Marcelino Logan

Dear Premier and Honourable Ministers:

Re: Provincial funding of groups seeking to limit the legal rights of Manitobans

The Manitoba Government must commit to the human rights of women, trans men, and non-binary people through the implementation of pro-choice policy and the immediate and permanent stop of all provincial funding and support of anti-choice organizations, including removing them from schools.

The Manitoba anti-abortion agency, Crisis Pregnancy Centre Westman Incorporated (in Brandon Manitoba, registered charity number 892903469RR0001), reported $9,662 in provincial funding for 2011-2015. They did not report which program or government agency provided the funding but provincial governments across Canada have funded these anti-abortion agencies through a variety of Ministries such as Labour, Social/Human Services, Health, and Education. Provinces have also provided funding through gaming and municipal revenue sharing. This funding must be permanently stopped.

The Canadian and Ontario governments recently committed to a funding policy that supports human rights:
1)    On Thursday, April 13, 2017, the federal government announced that they would ensure that no future Canada Summer Jobs grants will be directed to anti-choice organizations, and that “the government is looking at changing the rules on how federal summer job grants are allocated to prevent MPs from any political party from directing money under the Canada Summer Job program to anti-abortion groups”. [1]

2)    The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. OTF revised their policy to explicitly prohibit the funding of activities that seek to limit the legal rights and activities of Ontarians, as such, anti-choice groups are not eligible.
“OTF affirms its strong commitment to principles of equity, diversity and inclusion and will neither discriminate in any of its practices nor tolerate it in its grantees. This policy applies to all OTF activities, including but not limited to employment, grant making, purchasing, and selecting vendors or consultants, and extends to the use of public funds by grantees.” http://www.otf.ca/anti-discrimination-policy

Anti-choice organizations exist to limit the rights of women and transgender people by undermining contraceptive use and interfering with abortion access while promoting a conservative religious view of sexual and reproductive health.[2]  Many pregnancy care centres deceive their clients into believing that they are secular, medical clinics even though no medical staff are present. Their counsellors are not accountable to any professional standards or organizations. Many of these centres are also in Manitoba schools teaching purity culture and undermining responsible sexual health education. This can lead to dangerous medical misinformation being provided to vulnerable people.

Manitobans expect that charities will be honest and transparent about government funding.  Canada Revenue Agency requires government funding to be identified correctly on income tax returns, but most pregnancy care centres across Canada that receive this funding are NOT doing this.[3] Nor are they providing recognition of government funding on their websites.

Additionally, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada completed a study of pregnancy care centres across Canada in May 2016 [4] and found the majority do one or both of the following on their websites:
1) Spread misleading or inaccurate information about abortion, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, sexual activity, and/or adoption; and/or
2) Present themselves deceptively, such as by not disclosing that they won’t refer for abortion, or hiding their religious stance from prospective clients.
Government funding legitimizes these unprofessional and medically dangerous pregnancy centres, enabling them to divert patients from legitimate health clinics and undermine responsible sexual health education in Manitoba schools. In the interest of patient safety, respect for Charter rights, and compliance with inclusive and evidence-based policy, funding and support must be stopped immediately and permanently. The failure of these groups to respect Charter rights and to report accurately to the Canada Revenue Agency should be of concern to all Members of the Legislative Assembly.

Sincerely,
[Name]
[Address]
[Phone]


[1]     “Government looking to shut down summer job grants for anti-abortion groups”, Amanda Connolly, iPolitics, April 13, 2017. http://ipolitics.ca/2017/04/13/government-shutting-down-summer-job-grants-for-anti-abortion-groups-source/
[2]    Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services Core Documents, 2012, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7twzwJxG8BeYmgzZEpOcm1rVUk/view?usp=sharing
[3]    Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, “Anti-Abortion Agencies Get Millions in Government Funding”, January 2017. http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/press/ARCC-CDAC-release-jan-11-17-english.pdf
[4]    Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, “Study: Review of ‘Crisis Pregnancy Centre’ Websites in Canada”, May 18, 2016. http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/CPC-study/cpc.html