The pending U.S. court ruling highlights concerns about access to abortion in Saskatchewan.


News that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade of 1973 that the legalization of abortion prompted some in Saskatchewan to raise the issue of the accessibility of abortions in the province.

A leaked initial majority draft opinion suggests the court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, Reported Policy Monday. The United States Supreme Court has confirmed that the project is genuine.

“Roe was hugely wrong from the start,” conservative judge Samuel Alito wrote in the draft opinion, dated Feb. 10 and published in full by Politico. here.

Based on Alito’s opinion, the court would conclude that Roe v. Wade, which allowed abortions performed before a fetus is viable outside the womb – between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy – was wrongly decided because the US Constitution makes no specific mention of the right to abortion.

“Abortion poses a deep moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of every state from regulating or prohibiting abortion,” Alito wrote in the leaked document.

Heather Hale, executive director of Saskatoon Sexual Health (SSH), said she and her colleagues have seen the anti-abortion conversation grow in the United States over the past three years.

“So while it’s distressing, it’s not surprising,” Hale said of the pending decision. “It’s unfortunate that this continues to be the conversation and it’s undemocratic and based on misinformation or misinformation.”

Hale said the situation in Canada is different, but anti-gender equality activism isn’t just happening in the United States.

“The anti-choice activism that undermines decades of progress in gender equality and women’s rights around the world is not confined to any one jurisdiction,” she said. “It’s something we have to keep an eye on.”

Meanwhile, Alissa Golob, executive director and co-founder of anti-abortion organization Right Now, said she was delighted that Roe v. Wade is likely to be canceled.

“It’s been a long time coming. The American pro-life movement or Americans in general have been working hard to elect presidents who will appoint judges who will protect human rights before birth and the rights of women as well,” said Golob.

“Whenever there is a pro-life victory anywhere in the world, I will definitely celebrate.”

Golob said those in Saskatchewan who want to see a similar outcome should make their wishes known to their governments.

“I think public policy should reflect public opinion. And if the majority of Saskatchewanians want legislation that protects the unborn child and helps women through difficult pregnancies, that’s where the policy should go.”

Obstacles to access to abortion

Hale said the province has issues with abortion accessibility. She said it’s a common medical procedure that should be available to anyone who needs it.

“Information on how to obtain this very common medical procedure remains shrouded in secrecy and shame in Saskatchewan,” Hale said.

“We know that persistent barriers continue to impede the accessibility, availability, affordability and quality of abortion services in Saskatchewan.”

Heather Hale is the Executive Director of Saskatoon Sexual Health (SSH). (Submitted by Heather Hale)

Surgical abortions are only available in Saskatoon and Regina.

“Certainly we know of people who traveled up to nine hours to Regina to access services.”

Hale said the problem was compounded by the dissolution of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.

“So people living outside of Saskatoon or Regina need to have access to a vehicle. And then also because this trip is not covered by insurance, [they] also often have to make hotel and food arrangements to access services. »

She said some of the hurdles that currently exist are scheduling issues. Medical abortions are available up to nine weeks of pregnancy across the province. After nine weeks of pregnancy, a surgical abortion is necessary.

However, Saskatoon has a shorter time frame in which a person can obtain a surgical abortion. Surgical abortions are performed in Saskatoon up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, while in Regina it’s up to 18 weeks and six days, according to Hale.

Meanwhile, in provinces such as Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, this delay is longer. In British Columbia, a surgical abortion can be performed for up to 24 weeks.

Another hurdle is referrals. In Saskatoon, a person needs a doctor’s referral to access a surgical abortion, while in Regina, a person can call and refer themselves.

The opposition is asking Sask. Gone to expand services

On Tuesday, the opposition NDP called on the Saskatchewan Party government to expand access to abortion services.

“We are close to the worst in the country. It is very difficult to access reproductive services in general in Saskatchewan. And abortion services in particular are very limited in this province,” Deputy Opposition Leader Nicole Sarauer said at the Regina Legislative Building.

“[The Sask. Party] will do nothing to promote or expand access to reproductive services for women in Saskatchewan unless absolutely required to do so. And that’s very disappointing.”

Deputy Opposition Leader Nicole Sarauer said abortion access should be expanded in the province. (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

The Minister responsible for the Status of Women, Laura Ross, answered questions from the NDP.

“Our government follows the law. The law states that women have the right to access reproductive health services in Saskatchewan and in Canada,” Ross said. “A US Supreme Court ruling has no impact on women’s rights in Canada.”

Asked by reporters, Ross said there were no barriers to abortion access in the province.