Fierce US abortion debate spills over into Canada

·2 min read

With the overturn of Roe v Wade potentially on the horizon in the US, anti-abortion activists in Canada say they are optimistic the "culture change" could spill across the border.

The Campaign Life Coalition says it is confident it will galvanise a shift in Canada as well.

Abortion was decriminalised in the country in 1988.

On Thursday, the group will hold its annual march against abortions on Parliament Hill.

At a news conference on Wednesday, organisers from the socially conservative group discussed the implications for Canada of the leaked US Supreme Court draft opinion suggesting the landmark 1973 ruling that legalised abortion nationwide might be overturned.

If the court does strike down the Roe v Wade ruling, individual states would be allowed to ban abortion if they wish. It is expected abortion could then be banned in almost half of US states.

Jack Fonseca, Campaign Life Coalition director of political operations, said the group hopes that it could serve as a "tipping point" in Canada.

"It will enable Canadians to have kitchen table conversations about the humanity of the unborn child," he said. "Hearts and minds will be changed much more rapidly and much more easily."

A poll released this week by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies suggested that about four in five Canadians support a woman's right to have abortion access, compared to 14% who said that they are opposed.

Almost half of the poll's respondents said they believe that changes to US abortion laws could have an impact on Canada.

A 2021 Ipsos poll indicated similar public opinion, with 60% of respondents saying abortion should be permitted whenever a woman decides she wants one, and 16% saying it should be permitted under certain circumstances.

The leak of the draft top court opinion last week sent ripples through Canadian politics.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: "We'll never back down from protecting and promoting women's rights in Canada and around the world."

Canadian federal ministers have underscored that Americans can obtain abortions in Canada, at a cost.

On Wednesday, Canada announced more than C$3.5m ($2.7m, £2.2m) in new funding for abortion access projects, some of which address inequalities in access among indigenous, ethnic minority or LGBT groups.

Sexual health and abortion rights groups have long criticised uneven access to the procedure in the country, especially for people living in remote and rural areas.

As it stands, there is no federal law governing access to abortion in Canada.

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