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Denying abortion akin to violence, Monsef says of Planned Parenthood funding

Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Monsef, widely touted as Canada's first Afghan-born cabinet minister, has issued a statement saying she only recently learned from her mother that she was in fact born in Iran. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef says denying women access to the full range of reproductive services – including abortion – is a form of gender-based violence.

That is why the agency she leads is giving Planned Parenthood Ottawa nearly $300,000 for a three-year project aimed at improving services for women who face barriers to their reproductive rights, such as being coerced into either pregnancy or abortion, or having trouble getting contraceptives.

Those barriers can include pressure or threats from partners or families, as well as systemic issues facing women from marginalized communities.

Monsef did not mention Donald Trump in an interview about the funding, but the spectre of the U.S. president was front and centre as she called reproductive rights in Canada and around the world essential to gender equality.

She says the Liberal government believes in access to reproductive services both at home and abroad, and nothing has changed on that front.

The money will go towards helping Planned Parenthood Ottawa _ which is not a clinic _ develop a protocol for local service providers who deal with the overlap between sexual health and violence against women.