The growing threat to abortion access in the United States is incredibly disturbing and may endanger the right to abortion in this province, says Alberta’s NDP.
A newly leaked draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report.
“For one of the world’s largest democracies to roll back women’s rights by two generations would have ripple effects throughout the world. This would embolden those who seek to roll back our rights in Canada. Women’s autonomy over our own bodies is being threatened,” said NDP critic for women Janice Irwin, during a press conference on the steps of the Alberta Legislature on Tuesday.
“We must all stand with women around the world and continue to fight for reproductive freedom and defend abortion rights.”
NDP leader Rachel Notley said when extreme right wing conservative views pop up in the U.S. it only takes a few years for them to spread to Canada.
She said as premier in 2018, she proudly introduced legislation to create no protest zones around abortion clinics to better prevent the harassment of women seeking abortions and health care staff. But when NDP members stood up to support the legislation, UCP MLAs all walked out of the chamber.
“I’m calling on Premier Jason Kenney to re-affirm Alberta’s commitment to a women’s fundamental right to choose, guarantee he will do nothing to further restrict access to reproductive health services, and join me condemning this attack on reproductive rights and through that women’s equality in North America,” Notley said.
But later on Tuesday in the Legislature, the UCP government denied debate on an NDP motion to affirm access to abortions in Alberta and condemn the looming loss of reproductive rights in the U.S.
The NDP continues to seek an amendment to include abortion and termination for medical reasons in the UCP’s bereavement leave legislation for pregnancy loss which only mentions miscarriage or still birth.
The Politico report on Roe v. Wade in the U.S. comes amid a legislative push to restrict abortion in several Republican-led states.
Until now, the U.S. court has allowed states to regulate but not ban abortion before the point of viability, around 24 weeks.
The draft opinion in effect states there is no constitutional right to abortion services. It would allow individual states to more heavily regulate or outright ban the procedure.
The court is expected to rule on the case before late June or early July.
— with files from The Associated Press