TORONTO — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a constitutional right to abortion is a worrying setback that could lead to the removal of other rights Americans have.
“We know that this is an extremely, not just scary, but disheartening time for so many women,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Kigali, Rwanda, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
“Women for generations have fought for more rights in the United States, (only) to see this setback, to worry as well about how this can be expanded to more rights be taken away in the United States,” he said.
“This is a reminder of how we need to be unequivocal in our defense of people’s rights, in not taking anything for granted, in staying vigilant, and always standing up for woman’s rights, for LBGT rights, for the rights of people who are disenfranchised and marginalized,” he added.
Trudeau said Americans can now access Canada’s health care system for abortions and that will continue. He didn’t answer when asked if his government is planning to offer help for American women seeking an abortion in Canada.
While American women can get abortions in Canada, the cost, the need to travel and to have a passport make it prohibitive for some.
The ruling is likely to lead to abortion bans in roughly half of American states.
Thirteen states, mainly in the South and Midwest, already had laws to ban abortion in the event Roe was overturned. Another half-dozen states have near-total bans or prohibitions after six weeks, before many women know they are pregnant.
Trudeau vowed to continue to stand up for woman’s rights in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“We have a commitment in Canada to ensure, first of all, that every women has full, safe legal access to the full suite of sexual health and reproductive services, including safe and legal abortions and we’ve been working hard to increase access to women across the country,” Trudeau said.