(OTTAWA) Thousands of abortion opponents rallied on Parliament Hill on Thursday as a draft U.S. Supreme Court decision draws renewed attention to this social issue, two sides of the border.
Jeff Gunnarson, national chair of the anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition, addressed the crowd referring to the proposed ruling in the United States, which would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade of 1973 on the right to abortion.
Dozens of counter-protesters stood nearby.
James Schadenberg says he hopes the news in the United States will encourage Canadian politicians to pass legislation to prevent abortion and “protect the right to life.”
Another abortion opponent, Valerie Luetke, said that the situations in Canada and the United States are different because there “they are trying to repeal the law whereas in Canada we are trying to make it a “.
Protesters held signs that read: “I regret my abortion” and “Love life, choose life”. Meanwhile, counter-protesters read, “Abortion is health care” and “Keep your laws out of my body.”
Participants in religious attire were present to demonstrate against abortion and several speakers made reference to Christianity.
The Liberals promised last fall to pass new regulations to ensure access to abortion is a requirement for federal funding under the Canada Health Act. In addition, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned last week the possibility of enshrining the right to abortion in a law, in order to complicate the task of future governments who would like to make adjustments.
Asked Thursday about the factors considered in determining whether to legislate, Mr. Trudeau said the most important is that “every woman in Canada should have full access to legal and safe abortion services, and to reproductive health wherever she is in the country”.
He said the government also wanted to make sure the gains were not undone by future governments or court rulings, and he said discussions were ongoing on how best to do this.
“Maybe it’s a law, maybe it’s not a law, maybe it’s leaving the matter in the hands of the Canadian Medical Association, which has long provided governance for these procedures,” he said.
The topic of abortion came up Wednesday night during the candidates’ debate in the Conservative leadership race. All of the candidates, with the exception of recently elected Ontario MP Leslyn Lewis, have said they support free choice or will not introduce an abortion bill if they become premier.
Veteran MP Pierre Poilievre said a government led by him would not pass or introduce legislation restricting access to abortion. Jean Charest, former premier of Quebec, said he supports abortion rights and called Poilievre’s response insufficient, saying Canadian women deserved to know where he stood on the issue.
Mr Poilievre later said he believed in freedom of choice and would allow free votes from his caucus on this issue. He also highlighted Mr. Charest’s own record, arguing that the former Progressive Conservative MP voted for legislation that would have recriminalized abortion in 1990.
“Whoever the new leader is is going to come up in the election,” said Scott Hayward, co-founder of ‘RightNow,’ an organization that works to elect anti-abortion candidates. Whether they want to talk about inflation all the time or not, it’s going to happen and they have to have an answer. »