Letter to Alberta Government Ministers Asking Them to Stop Funding Anti-choice Groups
April 16, 2017
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To Alberta government ministers:
- Honourable Minister Joe Ceci, Treasury Board & Finance
- Honourable Minister Irfan Sabir, Community and Social Services
- Honourable Minister Ricardo Miranda, Culture and Tourism
- Honourable Minister Christina Grey, Labour
- Honourable Minister Shaye Anderson, Municipal Affairs
- Honourable Minister Stephanie McLean, Status of Women
Dear Honourable Ministers,
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”. 
The Alberta Government must make the same commitment 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 these anti-choice organizations.
Alberta Government Ministries are currently funding anti-abortion organizations, as follows:
- Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (reporting to Treasury Board): Bingo and (pending) casino licence for Lethbridge and District Birthright Society ($16K+ annual).
- Community and Social Services: Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre ($72K+ annual) – The second highest provincial support for an anti-abortion group in the entire country!
- Provincial/Municipal FCSS funding: Total unknown (Medicine Hat, Mountainview, Greenview and Cremona have all funded anti-abortion groups with FCSS). Anti-abortion groups should be ineligible under the FCSS Program Handbook section 2.1(1), as these organizations do not have prevention programs, and they oppose abortion and common pregnancy prevention methods such as the pill, IUD, and emergency contraception.
- Alberta Labour: Summer Temp Employment, CA Job Grants Training ($21K, 2016-17).
- Alberta Culture: Current amounts unknown ($128K, 2010-14)
(Full details at this table:http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/CPC-study/Alberta-antichoice-grants-vs-CRA.pdf)
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.  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 Alberta schools teaching purity culture and undermining responsible sexual health education. This can lead to dangerous medical misinformation being provided to vulnerable people.
Furthermore, Albertans expect that charities will be honest and transparent about government funding. Canada Revenue Agency requires government funding to be identified on income tax returns, but most pregnancy care centres are NOT doing this.  Fo r example, the Lethbridge and District Birthright Society to date has not reported provincial support on their CRA charity return for 2015 or 2016 despite newsletters identifying bingo funds.
Additionally, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada completed a study of pregnancy care centres across Canada in May 2016  and found the majority do one or both of the following on their websites:
- Spread misleading or inaccurate information about abortion, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, sexual activity, and/or adoption; and/or
- 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 Alberta 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.
 “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/
 Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services Core Documents, 2012, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7twzwJxG8BeYmgzZEpOcm1rVUk/view?usp=sharing
 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
 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