- OTTAWA, October 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Ottawa Catholic District School Board has entered a formal partnership with Craig Kielburger’s Free the Children despite LifeSiteNews’ revelation in July that the aid group has supported abortion, homosexual activism, and Planned Parenthood.
Board chairperson Gordon Butler told LifeSiteNews Thursday that they were aware of LifeSiteNews’ reports, but said they were “also aware of the report in the Catholic Register where Free the Children responds to the allegations made on your website.”
“The Board has also had direct contact with Free the Children to confirm their position,” he added.
LifeSiteNews contacted the board after learning the partnership was proposed at their September 27th meeting.
During the 2010 controversy over the federal government’s G8 maternal health initiative, Free the Children produced two fact sheets taking a direct stand in favor of abortion as part of efforts to promote “family planning” in the Third World. (Find the documents here and here.)
In response to LifeSiteNews’ reports, Toronto’s Catholic Register interviewed Free the Children co-founder Marc Kielburger, who insisted the organization “does not promote abortion, nor has it ever,” and accused LifeSiteNews of creating an “inaccurate perception” of their work.
Kielburger explained that the two fact sheets were written by an intern in 2010 and posted to their site without being reviewed by the group’s leadership. He said the links to the documents were removed three days later, but left on the site unintentionally. They were later removed after LifeSiteNews made inquiries.
The Catholic Register article failed to address numerous other pieces of clear evidence pointing to Free the Children’s violations of Catholic moral teaching, however.
For example, in their column for the Toronto Star in May 2011 the Kielburger brothers had openly voiced their support for the “reproductive rights” agenda of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which is the world’s largest abortion provider. The brothers’ byline for that column identifies them as representatives of Free the Children.
The federal government’s defunding of IPPF represented “a paternalistic refusal to offer women in Africa the same rights offered to women in Canada,” they wrote.
LifeSiteNews also reported that the organization was using their health clinics throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America to promote “family planning”; that their board chair Michelle Douglas was a leading homosexual activist; and that Craig Kielburger had very publicly attended a fundraiser – sponsored by Free the Children – for the homosexual lobby group Egale in June 2011.
Additionally, the group’s massive We Day youth conferences, run in major cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, have featured talks or appearances by pro-abortion politicians such as former Vice President Al Gore, former Prime Ministers Paul Martin and John Turner, Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau, and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
In an April 2011 newsletter Free the Children reiterated a claim from one of their now-pulled fact sheets that “unsafe abortion” is a leading cause of maternal mortality in the Third World. “80 percent of maternal deaths are caused by unsafe abortions, infections, severe bleeding and hypertensive disorders,” it reads.
Such claims are frequently used by the UN and Western agencies to justify the promotion of so-called “safe” abortion. But statistics from Third World countries show that those with the highest abortion rates also have the highest maternal mortality rates, whereas those where abortion is illegal have amongst the lowest maternal mortality rates. (See LSN reports here and here.) Pro-life advocates say the real solution to maternal mortality in Third World countries is to provide better maternal care before, during, and after pregnancy, rather than abortion.
The partnership with the school board will see the board give Free the Children a “formal endorsement,” and will give the aid group access to promote their initiatives at the schools.
Free the Children’s proposal to the board includes a quote from Marc Kielburger identifying he and Craig as “proud members of the Catholic faith.” He also touts the fact that they were both raised in the Catholic schools and that Free the Children was founded in a Catholic school.
Chairman, Ottawa Catholic School Board of Trustees
Director of Education and Secretary Treasurer, Ottawa Catholic School Board
Phone: 613-224-4455 ext 2272
Superintendent of Student Success Department (Learning Technologies)
Phone: 613-224-4455 ext 2303
Archbishop Terrence Prendergast
1247 Kilborn Place
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9