The return of the abortion debate in the United States worries Canada

In the land of Margaret Atwood, author of the novel that became a television series The Scarlet Maid, a feminist dystopia in which women are reduced to the role of surrogate mothers, the possible challenge to Roe v. Wade in the United States caused a shock wave. Throughout Canada, radios, televisions and newspapers have seized on the possible abolition of the right to abortion in the American neighbor to wonder about a possible “contagion” effect. The day after the revelation by the site Politico of the draft of the Supreme Court of the United States evoking the end of this constitutional right established for forty-nine years, the debate was also immediately invited to the House of Commons in Ottawa.

Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland at Parliament in Ottawa on April 25, 2022.

“A single moment of inattention can set us back decades”, warned Christine Normandin, MP for the Bloc Québécois (independence), Tuesday, May 3. “The government is committed to protecting women’s fundamental right to choose,” replied the Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, to thunderous applause. Absent from the parliamentary precincts, the Liberal Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, published at the same time a message on Twitter : “The right to choose is a woman’s right. Period. »

The question of a possible questioning of abortion, on the other hand, plunged the Conservative Party of Canada into embarrassment. In an email sent to its members a few hours after the revelation of politics, the party’s communications team cautiously urged them not to “Comment on the leak”. “What’s happening in the United States is happening in the United States, it’s an issue that has been settled for decades in Canada and that’s good,” tried to elude the Conservative MP, Gérard Deltell.

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The subject has divided the Canadian right for decades, which has, particularly in the Prairie provinces, in the west of the country, a militant religious base very opposed to free choice. The Conservative governments of Brian Mulroney (1984-1993) and Stephen Harper (2006-2015) tried several times to restrict access to abortion. In vain. Since then, the successive leaders of the Conservative Party have been regularly suspected of wanting to reopen the debate. Even if among the six candidates who are running today for his leadership, vacant since February, only Leslyn Lewis, the only woman in the race, says she is openly opposed to abortion. She received the enthusiastic support of Campaign Life Coalition, a powerful Canadian anti-abortion organization.

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