Canada’s Participation at She Decides Sends Important Message for Women

CARE Canada is pleased that Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau will be attending the She Decides conference in Brussels on Thursday, March 2, to defend the rights of women and girls to sexual and reproductive health.

The U.S. reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy, also known as the Global Gag Rule, has created a $600 million (USD) annual funding gap for women’s health.

“This represents a critical moment for the Government of Canada to invest in the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services that women, men, couples and young people want and need worldwide,” said Gillian Barth, president and CEO of CARE Canada.

These include education and contraception/family planning services that ensure voluntary access to the full range of modern contraceptive methods, respectful maternity care, and safe abortion and post-abortion care.

In addition to committing resources to help plug the funding gap, CARE believes that Canada can play a leadership role in the following key areas:

  • Eliminating discriminatory policies and supporting comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including in conflict-affected and humanitarian settings. The achievement of positive health outcomes for women and children relies on their safe, affordable and confidential access to the full range of reproductive health services, including safe abortion and post-abortion care.
  • Championing participatory health policy design and delivery. Research shows that women will not access services that do not meet their needs. Meaningful space is needed within the global health architecture for all people – including women, youth, disenfranchised and poor people, and sexual minorities to exercise their right to self-determination and to engage with and lead in the planning and delivery of health-related services at the community level.
  • Investing in a research agenda for sexual and reproductive health and rights. At a time when the critical contributions of sexual and reproductive health to women’s and girl’s rights is again being challenged, we are encouraged that the Government of Canada remains firm in its commitment to an evidence-based, feminist international assistance policy. CARE believes that Canada can play a leading role in supporting research into the many ways in which sexual and reproductive health among women, men, couples and young people supports development objectives. Strong research and evidence in this area would not only help counteract damaging narratives, but also assist Canada in its effort to encourage other, emerging donors to eliminate discriminatory policies and increase their support for sexual and reproductive health and rights.

“CARE’s aim is to ensure that all women, men, couples and adolescents – including those in fragile and conflict-affected settings – can exercise their right to make free, full and informed decisions about if, when and how many children they will have – without discrimination, coercion or violence,” said Barth. “CARE Canada and our partners around the world are looking to Canada to continue to act as a champion of women’s rights.”


To arrange an interview, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada | 613.790.2134