American women will be able to have abortions in Canada if the United States Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade and returns abortion law to the state level, said Karina Gould, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
In an interview with CBC News Network power and politics On Tuesday, Gould was asked if American women would be allowed to access the procedure in Canada.
“I don’t see why we wouldn’t,” she told host Vassy Kapelos. “If they, the people, come here and need access, definitely, you know, that’s a service that would be provided.”
Gould’s remarks came after US political newspaper Politico published a copy of an initial draft opinion written by US Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, a Republican appointee. This opinion suggests that a majority of justices are prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade – the landmark decision that allowed legal abortions in the United States – and to refer the matter to state legislatures.
The opinion claims that the 1973 Roe decision was constitutionally dubious and “grossly flawed from the outset” because its reasoning was “exceptionally weak”.
The opinion argues that the decades-old ruling – which essentially concluded that the right to privacy extends to reproductive choices like abortion – had ‘damaging consequences’ by splitting the nation into anti-abortion factions and pro-choice and depriving state officials of the power to regulate the practice.
Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to reaffirm his support for women’s reproductive rights without specifically mentioning the U.S. Supreme Court leak.
“The right to choose is a woman’s right and a woman’s right only,” he said. “Every woman in Canada has the right to a safe and legal abortion. We will never back down from protecting and promoting women’s rights in Canada and around the world.
Come to Canada
In recent years, many Republican-led states have passed abortion restrictions and so-called “trigger laws” that would go into effect and automatically ban abortions if the Supreme Court provides the legal basis.
If Roe is overturned, abortion will likely remain legal in liberal states. More than a dozen states have laws protecting the right to abortion.
California said it would look for other ways to accommodate out-of-state people seeking abortions if the law is overturned.
Judy Chu, a US Democratic representative from California, also told CBC News Network power and politics As of Tuesday, her state is already seeing women crossing the border from Texas to get abortions, a practice she says will only increase if Roe vs. Wade is overturned.
“There’s a definite increase already. Can you imagine if 26 states banned abortion because of the fall of Roe v. Wade?” she says. “Yes here [would] certainly women coming to Canada, Mexico and other states that support abortion.”
Concerns for Canadian Women
Gould said that while Canada will remain open to American women seeking abortions, she is also concerned that the overturning of Roe v. Wade could mean for Canadian women wishing to have an abortion.
“One of the concerning factors here is that there are a lot of Canadian women who may not live near a major city in Canada, but often access these services in the United States,” he said. she stated. “I’m very concerned about yesterday’s leak. I’m very concerned about what this means, especially for American women, but also for Canadian women.”
The issue of abortion has been the subject of much political debate in Canada — perhaps nowhere more so than within the Conservative Party.
Former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney failed to pass abortion legislation after the R. v. Morgentaler’s 1988 Supreme Court struck down previous Canadian practice law.
Currently, there is no federal law governing abortion.
Against this backdrop, former leaders of the Conservative Party, including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and MPs Andrew Scheer and Erin O’Toole, have been dogged by questions from the press and public about their position on the abortion access legislation — and successive Liberal and New Democrat leaders have made Conservative ambiguity on the subject an election issue.