Friday’s news that the Supreme Court of the United States had overturned the Roe vs Wade abortion ruling has sent a shockwave to millions of people in that country and aboard.
The decision no longer secures constitutional protection for abortion, by allowing each state to restrict or ban access to the procedure.
Dr. Christabelle Sethna, a professor with the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa, says what’s happening now is going to have all kinds of repercussions, including in Canada.
“What’s now going to happen is things like miscarriage or difficult pregnancies, there will be a tendency to criminalize these types of pregnancies,” she tells Yahoo Canada News. “Certain states already have on the books state laws that make it difficult to get an abortion at the earliest stages. These states are now free to put these extremely restrictive laws in place.”
She says that what people don’t often realize is that pregnancy can be dangerous for women and not all women can have a successful pregnancy.
“We know that women have many different health conditions, lots of things can go wrong and maternal mortality is a major issue throughout the world, particularly for women who are poor and marginalized,” Sethna says.
When it comes to Canadians, Sethna says that some women who have previously gone to the U.S. for late term abortions, depending on where they were available, might now face restrictions. She adds that it is likely Americans will cross the border to access our health services.
“We might see a flow of women from the U.S. coming to Canada for abortion services,” Sethna says. “What will that mean for the medical system in Canada? Some of the states might criminalize women who cross borders for abortions. What does that mean for women?”
Sethna stresses that the younger generations are going to experience this overturning in a very powerful way.
“The women of reproductive age really need to think about what their strategies are going to be,” she says. “Contraception is never fool proof and not every woman has a perfect pregnancy and not every woman gets pregnant at a point in her life where she can manage the pregnancy, the childbirth and the raising of the child for the next 20 years.”
On Twitter, reaction to the subject was frenzied and included the voices from many leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden.
The news coming out of the United States is horrific. My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can’t imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 24, 2022
Today is a very solemn moment for the United States.
The Supreme Court expressly took away a Constitutional right from the American people that it had already recognized. They simply took it away. That's never been done to a right that is so important to so many Americans.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 24, 2022
My thoughts on the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. pic.twitter.com/9ALSbapHDY
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) June 24, 2022
Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 24, 2022
Abortion, which is lifesaving in cases of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, etc, will now be illegal in many states & even criminal in some & women will die as a result of this decision. So don't tell me you're pro-life.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) June 24, 2022
Overturning Roe and outlawing abortions will never make them go away.
It only makes them more dangerous, especially for the poor + marginalized.
People will die because of this decision. And we will never stop until abortion rights are restored in the United States of America.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 24, 2022
Thousands across the world are sharing their grief and anger at the decision. Canadians are even offering help to women in the United States.
I am starting a website that will connect Americans with safe abortion services in Canada. The website will connect users with clinics, local accommodation, right-to-choice information, etc. Anyone, lawyer or otherwise, who wants to participate, please DM me.
— Rob Kivlichan | Criminal Defence Lawyer (@rkivlaw) June 24, 2022
I am so, so angry for y'all. And also willing to help folks who need to come to Canada for an abortion. DMs always open.
— Green Leaf Geek (@greenleafgeek) June 24, 2022
whether it's abortion or divorce, you don't have to agree with it, but don't take away that choice from people who need or want it. that's not up to us to decide unless we're the ones going through it ourselves, so stop speaking over women's bodies and people's relationships.
— ⁺˳✧༚ patch ⁺˳✧༚ (@patchgjnr) June 19, 2022
What ends today in more than 20 states is LEGAL abortion, women's and people with uteri's rights to bodily autonomy, and the fragile notion that everyone is free. Clearly, few of us are. I do not know where we go from here but this is not the end of a fight. It's the beginning.
— roxane gay (@rgay) June 24, 2022
Absolutely gutted for my sisters in the states. Abortion bans are an attack on all women, but that disproportionately impact women who are poor, women of colour, and women trapped in abusive relationships.
Abortion bans are barbarism.
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) June 24, 2022
So let me get this straight. A state has the right to restrict abortions, but doesn’t have the right to restrict firearms? Is that what we have now in these “United” States?
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 23, 2022
Abortion is a human right.
For everyone. Everywhere.
We will never stop fighting.
— Amnesty International USA (@amnestyusa) June 24, 2022
Abortion care IS health care. It was so before this. And it will remain so after this.
We don’t care what a far-right extremist Supreme Court that is in a crisis of legitimacy says. Your racist, sexist, classist ruling won’t stop us from accessing the care we need.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) June 24, 2022