TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned Saturday that the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a constitutional right to abortion could lead to the loss of other rights and indicated his country would continue to allow Americans to get abortions in Canada.
Trudeau called the court’s decision “horrific” and voiced concern that the ruling could someday allow a rollback of legal protections for gay relationships, including the right for same-sex couples to marry.
“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.
Asked if his government would help American women seeking abortions in Canada, Trudeau did not directly respond, but said: “Everyday Americans who find themselves in Canada access our health care system in Canada and that’s certainly something that will continue,”
However the cost, the need to travel and to have a passport make that prohibitive for some Americans.
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.