Letters to the editor.

LETTER – Comox church responds to PM’s comments regarding anti-abortion organizations

Dear editor,

On Dec. 16, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau sent a letter to Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland (see bit.ly/3KHI5JQ). The letter included this direction: “Introduce amendments to the Income Tax Act to make anti-abortion organizations that provide dishonest counselling to pregnant women about their rights and options ineligible for charitable status.”

In response to this statement, the leadership team at the Comox Community Baptist Church has sent an advocacy letter, in support of the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre, to Government of Canada representatives which include these statements:

It is conceivable that there are organizations with charitable status, or individuals within those organizations, who may intentionally provide dishonest counselling to pregnant women, especially as it relates to their full range of rights and care options. Having said that, in order for justice to be realized, we would ask that you, and those that act on your behalf, distinguish those organizations from other organizations that provide honest supportive counselling to pregnant women, including their full range of rights and care options.

In other words, we would expect that the phrase “anti-abortion organizations” is not indiscriminately applied to all charitable status organizations that provide pregnancy care support, resulting in all such organizations losing their charitable status by virtue of simply providing accurate and factual pregnancy care supportive counselling. This distinction must be honestly exercised whenever decisions to withdraw or withhold charitable status are made.

For several years now, Comox Community Baptist Church has allocated mission funds to the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre. We are familiar with their good work in providing a needed public service in our community.

Such work includes “Free pregnancy tests, counselling for women facing unplanned pregnancies, post-abortion counselling, support for birth mothers while making adoption plans, support for women who choose to parent, free clothing room and fayette gifts at birth of child, housing referrals, miscarriage support. (Source: Revenue Canada Agency- Reporting period ending 2020-12-31)

A search of the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre website includes a section entitled “Abortion,” which includes this statement: “We are not a medical centre, abortion services can be discussed with your family doctor or other medical providers. If you do not have a family doctor, we can assist you in finding one.”

Alerting service users to the option to discuss abortion services with their family doctor should not lead to a characterization of the Comox Valley Pregnancy Care Centre, for example, as being an “anti­ abortion organization with dishonest counselling.” Any claim of dishonesty in counselling must first be factually and objectively established before any withdrawal or withholding of charitable status occurs.

Jim Thomson,

Comox Community Baptist Church

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