- (Photo: REUTERS/Molly Riley)
A prominent Canadian official is at the center of a growing controversy after she said Catholic schools should not teach that abortion is a sin.
Canada's Education Minister Laurel Broten made the troubling comments during a press conference when she was asked if she felt that it was justified to have a Catholic school encourage kids to attend a pro-life rally.
"We do not allow and we're very clear with the passage of Bill 13 that Catholic teachings cannot be taught in our schools that violates human rights and which brings a lack of acceptance to participation in schools," Broten said.
Broten was referencing Bill 13, which is a new anti-bullying law, and her comments quickly caught the ear of media personalities and conservative pundits on both sides of the border. Broten has been the target of criticism from staunch critics, who claim that denying Catholic principals within Catholic schools is to impede on a person's religious liberty.
"If Bill 13 were interpreted in the way the Minister suggests, in my opinion, it would be unconstitutional as offending freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and free speech, as well as contrary to parents' obligations and rights with respect to their children, and so on," Margaret Somerville, director of McGill University's Centre for Medicine, Ethics and Law, told LifeSiteNews.com.
Moreover, critics cite current laws which address abortion and also highlight the fact Parliament has the power to use legislation tackle specific abortion cases within the country.
"Given that she is Minister Responsible of Women's Issues, it should be of serious concern that she's unaware that there's no right to abortion in Canada," Faye Sonier, legal counsel for the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, said in a statement.
"It is troubling that Ms. Broten is so confident with such openly fascistic language as to be unconcerned that by her reasoning, any group could for any reason be silenced at the will of the party in power," she added.