Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has slammed the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion and suggested that American women may still be able to access legal and safe abortions in Canada.
“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,” Trudeau said in a tweet on Friday. “No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.”
When asked by reporters whether Canada would help US women seeking abortions, Trudeau didn’t directly answer the question and offered no specific measures on the issue. However, he did say: “Everyday Americans who find themselves in Canada access our health care system in Canada and that’s certainly something that will continue.”
Few other details have been shared and it's uncertain how crossing the border to access abortion might conflict with specific state laws in the US.
On Friday, June 24, the US Supreme Court voted to overturn the historic abortion law known as Roe Vs Wade, ending 50 years of federal abortion rights. This decision has effectively ended the constitutional right to an abortion for millions of US women and will allow individual states to introduce bans. Around 26 states are expected to.
Before the ruling, Canada already suggested it would continue to welcome people from the US seeking abortions. Back in May 2022, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said he was in discussions with Canada Border Services Agency to ensure Americans seeking abortions can come to Canada to access a safe abortion. However, few finer details of this plan were divulged.
Some have expressed doubt that Canada can fulfill this position of becoming a “safe haven” for women in the US affected by the recent Supreme Court ruling. While Canada is the only nation on Earth with absolutely no criminal restrictions on abortion, the country has its own problems with access to abortion, even before dealing with the potential increase in demand from the US. For instance, there are relatively few abortion clinics in Canada and many are already working at full capacity.
“What happened in the U.S. is very scary, and it’s certainly something we have to be vigilant about,” said Insiya Mankani, public affairs officer for Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, reports Global News.
“At the same time, we need to continue to make sure that there is better access to abortion across this country. And I think the federal government can certainly play a role in that.”