Prime Minister Trudeau makes an announcement at the Women Deliver 2019 Conference
It is great to be here today, with so many grassroots leaders and advocates. When we look to the progress we've made on gender equality, everything from protecting the right to choose, to creating more flexible parental leave, we see the story of people like you who have dedicated their lives to defending women's rights. Thank you for your work. But I know that it’s not enough for me to simply stand up here and recognize your leadership, as a government, we have to stand with you as a partner and as an ally.
Yesterday, at the opening of this conference, I talked about Canada's responsibility to lead, because the unfortunate truth is that we live in a world where rights are increasingly under threat. Women don't have to imagine not being able to access healthcare when they need it, they don't have to imagine being denied the right to choose what's best for their health and their future. For far too many people, that's the reality and that's unacceptable.
We know that women, and women only, should be making the decisions that affect their bodies. When it comes to abortion, women must have access to safe and legal services. Not just because it is their right, but because unregulated procedures can put their lives at risk. But protecting women’s sexual health is not only about the right to abortion, we must also be proactive in helping women and girls make healthy and informed decisions about their bodies, we must ensure that they receive comprehensive sex education in our schools.
Of course, we can’t talk about sexual and reproductive rights in isolation from the rest of a woman’s health, because just like there are 200 million women who don't have access to contraception every day, hundreds more die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. So, Canada is not just speaking up, we’re stepping up. Today, I can announce that our government is increasing our ongoing commitment to funding for sexual and reproductive health rights and maternal, newborn and child health. We will be raising our funding to one 1.4 billion dollars annually to support women and girl’s health around the world.
And with 700 million dollars of the annual investment dedicated to sexual and reproductive health rights, we’re focusing on the most neglected areas of this field.
This is a game changer that will empower 18 million women and girls in developing countries by 2030.
But you know, and I know, that this is not a zero-sum issue. We can help women access birth control while also investing to make sure that newborns don't become orphans. Health is health. To be frank, there are some politicians who want to drive a wedge between these two goals, to create a division where none should exist.
There are politicians here in Canada, who have called our government's investments exporting an ideological agenda. Well, we couldn't disagree more.
This should not be a political issue. These divisions are playing out globally with devastating consequences, and women deserve better. The women who Minister Bibeau met in Cox's Bazar, who experienced unimaginable abuse and violence, deserve better. The women who our Parliamentary Secretary Carol, sat down with in the Philippines at a sexual health program, who were being empowered to make decisions about their own lives, deserve better.
If we want to reduce the health gap, we must put women first. It’s just, it’s not time for politics, so I want to thank all the non-profit organizations, including 100 Canadian NGOs that have mobilized for this cause.
Our government has heard you, and today all your work is paying off. Every woman, no matter where she lives, must have access to safe and quality health care.
Here in Canada, we’ve made great strides over the last 50 years in expanding women's health services, but access to safe reproductive services remains uneven, even in Canada. There is still more work to do. So just a few weeks ago, Minister Petitpas Taylor announced the lifting of restrictions for prescribing Mifegymiso, giving more women, especially in rural and remote areas, access to reproductive health options.
And our government is also investing in our researchers and our non-profit organizations, like Ovarian Cancer Canada, to support their vital work in preventing, screening, and treatment for diseases that women are facing.
My friends, when we prioritize women, everyone benefits. When women are healthy, they can focus on making a positive difference in the world, whether as entrepreneurs, artists or innovators. When girls are empowered and informed, they become leaders who lift their communities up.
Today, thanks to an annual investment of 1.4 billion dollars in women’s and girls’ health, another step is being taken to make this vision a reality. Thank you very much everyone.
Thank you so much for your activism, for your strength, for your leadership. We are doing this together. Thank you.