Anti-Abortion Activists Are Now Targeting Reproductive Rights In Canada

Domestic anti-abortion organizers hope to elect more pro-life politicians.
Anti-Abortion Activists Are Now Targeting Reproductive Rights In Canada

A new wave of aggressive anti-abortion politics is sweeping the United States. Republican legislators in several states are pushing new abortion bans that reproductive rights activists have labelled a threat to the health and safety of women across the country.

In Alabama, governor Kay Ivey has just signed into law one of the most restrictive bans in the country, criminalizing almost all abortion procedures. Doctors who perform abortions will be charged with felonies, according to NBC News.

The pupose of such legislation is to force legal challenges that could eventually rise to the now Republican-dominated Supreme Court where Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that first defined the right to an abortion, is vulnerable.

Condemnation of the new Alabama law and other anti-abortion bills has been swift. In addition to the thousands of Americans that have taken to social media to voice their opposition, Canadians are expressing their support for reproductive rights.

On Thursday, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in France that he was "disappointed" in the American "backslide" on women's rights. "We will always be unequivocal in defending a woman's right to choose," he continued.

But in Canada, too, anti-abortion activists have become more vocal. Maclean's reported in September of last year that pro-lifers were emboldened by the election of the Ford government in Ontario.

Organizers are now pushing to elect more anti-choice officials at every level of government. The upcoming October Canadian federal election represents the next benchmark for the national anti-abortion movement, reports Maclean's.

Last year, according to the Huffington Post, the Conservative party only "narrowly" decided to not pursue restrictions on abortion. Anti-abortion groups nevertheless celebrated that vote as a demonstration of a growing willingness to rekindle debate in Canada.

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Action to regulate abortion may not be so swift, however. The Campaign Life Coalition (CLC), an anti-choice organization, gives Conservative leader Andrew Scheer only a C grade for his stance on abortion.

Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau, meanwhile, have F and F- ratings, respectively. A 2018 poll also found that a majority of Canadians support unrestricted access to abortion. For these reasons, abortion rights in Canada seem secure.

But an abortion rights activist told CTV News that she anticipates that the resurgence of efforts to restrict abortion in the United States will only bolster the Canadian anti-choice movement.

Just last week, demonstrators took to Parliament Hill for the annual March for Life, which is organized by the CLC, to "[demand]" that "political representatives fight" for abortion restrictions, the event website reads. 

Despite politicians' commitment to maintain the current state of abortion rights in Canada, political trends across the continent are once again forcing the issue from the periphery to the centre of Canadian political discourse.

Support for abortion rights remains strong, but the passage of abortion bans in the United States may animate the pro-life movement in Canada.

For more information on the efforts of pro-life organizers in Canada, read Maclean's article here. For more information on the state of abortion rights in Canada, visit the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada website here.