The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to revoke the constitutional right to an abortion is “horrific,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.
“My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can’t imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now,” he said on Twitter. “No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.”
On Friday, Roe v. Wade“,”_id”:”00000181-96db-df92-a1e7-f6dfe8590000″,”_type”:”02ec1f82-5e56-3b8c-af6e-6fc7c8772266″}”>the top court overturned Roe v. Wade in a 5-4 vote, upending decades of court rulings upholding the right to an abortion and clearing the way for dozens of states to ban the procedure.
Speaking from the Commonwealth summit in Rwanda Friday, Trudeau told reporters that no rights should be taken for granted. “Today I think of those generations of women around the world and specifically in the United States who fought so hard to gain rights … and are facing this devastating setback,” he said. “It shows how much standing up and fighting for rights matters every day.”
Some advocates expect that abortion bans in the U.S. will boost demand at Canadian clinics, and have raised concerns about the impact on an already overstretched system. Abortions will likely soon be illegal in the border states of North Dakota and Idaho.
Abortions were decriminalized in Canada following a 1988 Supreme Court decision, but no legislation regarding abortion has ever passed, and political parties have largely been keen to avoid reopening the debate.
There is broad public support for abortion rights in Canada, and there are no legal restrictions on abortion, though access varies across the country.
After POLITICO reported on an initial draft majority opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade last month, Trudeau left the door open to enshrining the right to abortion in Canadian law.
But many advocates say the government’s focus should be on improving access to abortions. The Liberals have promised more funding for abortion services, but have faced criticism for slow progress.
Abortion is an ongoing issue of contention for Canada’s Conservative party, whose caucus includes a substantial number of anti-abortion MPs. One of the candidates in the Conservative leadership race, Leslyn Lewis, is avowedly anti-abortion.
But the perceived frontrunner, Pierre Poilievre, has said he would not introduce any laws restricting abortion.