Canadian leaders stand in solidarity with women abortion rights

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NDP leader JagmeetSingh called on Liberals to improve access to safe abortion services and make contraceptives free

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and NDP are expressing their solidarity for abortion rights as the decades-old battle over the issue exploded this week in United States after a draft U.S. Supreme Court decision, leaked late on Monday.

The draft showed that a majority of justices prepared to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that protects abortion rights. The court on confirmed the authenticity of the leaked document. 

Canadian leaders, however, affirmed their support of women’s right to choose. “The right to choose is a woman’s right and a woman’s right alone. Every woman in Canada has a right to a safe and legal abortion. We’ll never back down from protecting and promoting women’s rights in Canada and around the world,” said PM Trudeau in a tweet.

The Bloc Quebecois, a federal political party, also moved a motion in Canada’s Parliament Tuesday to recognize a woman’s “free choice in the matter of abortion.”

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was “both shocked and deeply troubled” by the leaked ruling and said her government has a “clear and determined commitment” to protect a woman’s right to choose.

NDP Women and Gender Equality Critic, Leah Gazan called the leaked report “deeply concerning.”“When abortion rights are denied or when safe abortion services are inaccessible, pregnant people face serious injury or death. Seeing these rights in danger is extremely concerning. We understand and empathize with the worry and fear people living in Canada are feeling right now,” Gazan added.

In Canada, the right to an abortion is secure because of strong laws and widespread support amongst Canadians. Canada’s Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in a historic 1988 ruling. Ostensibly, since then, abortion has been a medical procedure like any other. But barriers to access persist, especially for people living outside urban areas.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the Liberal government to do more than talk about women’s right to safe abortion services by urging them to take meaningful action to ensure greater access is available across the country. Singh also wants the government to make contraceptives free as quickly as possible as part of the Pharmacare program they agreed to deliver for Canadians.

“Women – particularly in northern and rural communities – often have to drive for hours because abortion services are not available in their communities,” Singh said. As a concrete step that the government could take immediately, Singh urged the government to make contraceptives – including the morning after pill – free across the country.