Hundreds of people protested today outside the U.S. Consulate in Toronto following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, effectively ending federal protection for abortion rights in the country.
Those attending the rally, organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), were in support of those affected by the Supreme Court's decision in the U.S., but also noted barriers in accessing abortion here in Canada.
While for some women attending, the protest was personal, as they shared their own abortion stories. Madeleine Pearce said she was fortunate to be able to access an abortion service provider when she needed it.
"There were no restrictions, it was super easy, and it was fully funded," she said. "I'm here in solidarity, I believe every person should have the right to choose what they do with their body."
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 6-3 to overturn the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade in 1973. The decision sent shockwaves across the U.S. and beyond and several cities across the country have seen protests in response.
Erin Kotecki Vest, the chair of Democrats Abroad Canada, which represents Americans in Canada who support the Democratic Party in the U.S., said Americans living in Canada seeing the news are scared and angry.
"But we're also motivated now. We want to mobilize, we want to see action," she said.
Kotecki Vest said she had an abortion when her life was at risk.
"If I would not have had it, I'd be dead," she said as she protested Saturday.
She added that events that happen in the U.S. "tend to creep up," and Canadians need to remain vigilant to protect reproductive rights.
The OFL said while abortion is legal in Canada, there are still many barriers to access.
"People in rural and remote communities, racialized, and low-income individuals still lack access to reproductive rights," the OFL said in a statement.
The group fears that the decision in the U.S. could also embolden anti-abortion groups in Canada.
Planned Parenthood Toronto, supporting the protest, said it's "devastated, grief-stricken, and enraged" at the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.