PAFE Asks Ottawa Catholic to Review Free the Children

Parents As First Educators Asks Ottawa Catholic School Board to Review Free the Children

BY Teresa Pierre
Toronto, September 24, 2013
On September 24, 2013 parent Andy Pocrnic from Parents As First Educators told the Ottawa Catholic School Board that Free the Children is an unsuitable partner for Catholic schools.  With the passage of a stricter policy on board partners last spring, it's now the time to examine whether with Free the Children's record on abortion and contraception it passes the litmus test.  Pocrnic said that based on the charity's support of the distribution of abortion and contraception services within developing countries the board should sever its partnership with Free the Children.

Craig and Marc Keilburger's charity, Free the Children has the praiseworthy goal of activating young people to work on behalf of their peers struggling with poverty and crime in developing nations.   No one can argue that teaching children to give to others who have less than they do is of great importance in the "big picture" of Catholic education.  And no doubt they have a PR machine that can't be beat.  Their annual event "We Day" is a star-studded extravaganza that draws in thousands of Catholic students to listen to inspiring stories of young people who are acting as agents of social change. What's not to love?
Unfortunately the brothers are also outspoken in their wish to make "reproductive health services," which among activists invariably means contraception and abortion, more commonly available to women in the developing world.
In an opinion piece written Mother's Day, 2011, called "A Mother's Day Manifesto." that ran in the Toronto Star, the brothers famously criticized recent cuts by Stephen Harper's government to International Planned Parenthood
And as women in developing countries fight for reproductive rights, our now Conservative majority government is poised to cut funding to International Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides reproductive health services abroad. It's a paternalistic refusal to offer women in Africa the same rights offered to women in Canada.    
Free the Children's "Mother's Day Manifesto" just doesn't jive with past claims by the charity to be neutral on the topic of abortion. It's time for Ontario Catholic Boards to stop giving a pass to a charity that cannot give an honest yes to the question, "do you support the right to life of the unborn?" 

If you agree that the Ottawa Catholic School Board should stop supporting Free the Children, please write to: 

1) your Ottawa Catholic Trustee. Contact info can be found here.

2)  the Archdiocese of Ottawa 
1247 Kilborn Place 
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9 
Phone: 613-738-5025 
Fax: 613-738-0130 

Letters should be sent before October 2, 2013.