Ottawa, Canada, Jul 6, 2017 / 12:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Responding to a Canadian politician who called abortion a central aspect of the country's human rights efforts, a local bishop said the procedure is in fact deeply harmful — especially to women. “While the Catholic Bishops of Canada share your concern for advancing the respect and dignity of women…we feel the need to point out, with all due respect, that your statement above is erroneous, confusing, and misguided,” Bishop Douglas Crosby, president of the Canada's Catholic Conference of Bishops, said in a June 29 letter.  

The letter comes in response to a recent speech given by Canada's Minister in Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, to the House of Commons. “Women's rights are human rights,” she said June 6. “That includes sexual reproductive rights and the right to safe and accessible abortions. These rights are at the core of our foreign policy.”

Bishop Douglas Crosby cited other major issues involving women's rights that Freeland failed to mention, such as Canada's economic partnerships with countries that allow societal oppression and outright brutality against women. “Female infants are murdered for not being male; (countries) in which women earn less than men for the same job or where they do not enjoy the same privileges under the law, including the right to education or protection from rape, physical violence.”

He then said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision last year to pledge $650 million in support of abortion and reproductive rights globally showed misguided priority. He compared this to the nearly $120 million pledged in response to severe food shortages, striking heavily in many parts of Africa.

The bishop noted Freeland's statement in her speech that “it is clearly not our role to impose our values around the world. No one appointed us the world's policemen.” Yet imposing the 'value' of abortion rights offends the views of many cultures around the world and domestically, he said. Belief in an unborn child's right to life — held by Catholics, Jews, Protestants, Hindus, Muslims, and even non-believers of good will — should be respected, the bishop added.

In his letter, Archbishop Crosby agreed with Freeland's emphasis on Canada's vital role in global progress, but said it must respect the rest of the world's opinions and be conducive to the human person, both woman and child.

“If Canada’s foreign policy needs a stable ground it cannot possibly be abortion advocacy and ‘sexual reproductive rights.’ And if the dignity of women is to have a universal moral foundation it cannot be based on principles that override the rights of the unborn child.”