Keith Martin has some (unusual for him) wise words:
With respect to the thorny issue of abortion, Mr. Harper should embrace the standard medical position championed by the World Health Organization, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and indeed previous Liberal and Conservative governments. This position is to support women’s access to safe abortions in those countries where it is legal. Many members of the Conservative government may have their own personal opposition to abortion, and this must be respected. However, they do not have the right to force their views on others when it runs counter to the prevailing scientific consensus. “Not opening the abortion debate” means respecting the status quo, which has been our nation’s position for many years. If the government claims to be pro-life, certainly they would want to reduce the current toll of 63,000 women a year who perish as a complication of a botched abortion and the hundreds of thousands of children who die as a consequence of their mother’s passing. Furthermore, how can our government actively deprive women from the poorest countries in the world of the same rights and access to medical procedures that women have in Canada?
In this next bit, Martin describes Harper's "out" over the abortion issue:
Mr. Harper can square his opposition to abortion while implementing an effective plan to reduce maternal and childhood mortality by proposing that each G8 country take the lead in one of the inputs required to address this tragic situation. For example, Canada could be the lead nation on training healthcare workers and micronutrients, another country could focus on providing medications, another on access to family planning and safe abortions, etc. In this way, a comprehensive plan that focuses on enabling the world’s poorest to access basic primary care services can be implemented, with the G8 countries dividing responsibilities and target resources.
This was the same means by which the 2nd Bush administration finessed the problem: who funds what would be re-shuffled so that Canada would not be paying for overseas abortions--another country willing to cut the cheques would do that. On the other hand, no policy change necessitated by any defunding would be required, because the overall funding levels would remain as they were.
I wouldn't be surprised if this is not the route eventually taken.
Lets see how it plays on Lifesite.