Planned Parenthood 'conned' government, Tory MP says

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Another Saskatchewan MP is calling for the government to cut funding to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, accusing the organization of being deceitful and conning the Conservative government.

Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative MP from Saskatoon-Wanuskewin, alleges in a strongly worded press release that the international women's health organization will be using Canadian aid money to perform abortions.

The Canadian funding is for projects in countries where abortion is tightly restricted. The projects approved are sex education and contraception programs.

The press release says Vellacott is commenting on "IPPF’s deceitful language on abortion to con the Canadian government for taxpayer dollars."

"The IPPF is trying to dupe us into believing that because Canadian taxpayer dollars are going to countries where abortion is supposedly illegal, the money won't be spent on abortions," he says in the statement.

He said it's naive to think the organization won't be promoting abortion, even in the countries where it's illegal.

A spokesman for International Planned Parenthood firmly rejected Vellacott's assertions.

"IPPF is absolutely clear: no Canadian money will be used for any abortion-related services in any of the five countries that [the Canadian International Development Agency] has announced funding for," Paul Bell said in a written statement to CBC News.

"This includes advocacy for access to safe abortion services in countries where it is highly restricted."

Bell pointed to World Health Organization data that show there are 21 million unsafe abortions performed every year, and to a study released Tuesday that suggested cutting money to family planning programs resulted in less access to contraception and more abortions.

The UN estimates 215 million women want contraception but don't have access to it, he said.

"Restricting laws and access to safe abortion services does not reduce abortion rates, it just makes abortion clandestine and unsafe. This impacts the poorest women most, since even in countries where abortion is restricted, those with money can either find someone to perform an abortion safely in their country or they can travel to another country."

'Not too late to stop,' MP says

Vellacott says the controversy over the funding will "exposed the lies and destructiveness of IPPF’s agenda."

"It exposes what this abortion giant is surreptitiously trying to achieve worldwide.

"It's still not too late to stop this $6-million misappropriation of Canadian taxpayer funds, because IPPF does not meet the criteria of our commendable maternal and child health care initiative. IPPF will be doing abortions by another name," he said.

Vellacott was joining fellow Saskatchewan Conservative MP Brad Trost, who said Wednesday that anti-abortion activists would have to be more aggressive to get the government to listen to them.

Trost said last April that the Conservative government had "de-funded" International Planned Parenthood because of petitions by anti-abortion activists. The group's Canadian funding lapsed in 2009 without being renewed until last week.

Trost told Rosemary Barton, on CBC's Power & Politics, the prime minister's office hasn't tried to stop him from speaking out on the issue.

An official called him after he tweeted that he was going to post a response on his website, but neither the prime minister's office nor the whip's office, whose officials are in charge of caucus discipline, criticized him for his comments, he said.

"They do understand this is an issue caucus members have fairly strong opinions on," Trost said, adding he's going to encourage more Conservative MPs to go public if they oppose abortion.