There has been no shortage of reaction following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs Wade making way for states to ban abortions.
The move overturns constitutional protections that had been in place for nearly fifty years.
UNBC Associate Professor, Dr. Zoe Meletis told Vista Radio the ruling won’t eliminate abortions and does come with its own set of risks.
“Abortion will happen. People will always terminate pregnancies and rendering them illegal just makes it harder for people to do and increases the risk of infant and mother mortality.”
“There are groups that use drones to move abortion technologies and medications across borders and there are groups who use shipping containers to create floating abortion clinics. People are creative and they have been ending pregnancies since the dawn of time.”
Meletis added the implications on what is happening south of the border will have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the world.
“What happens in the US does influence the world whether we like that or not. Absolutely right we must stick to our own guns here in Canada and our own conceptualizations of reproductive rights and freedoms and I also want to say that all is not well in terms of access to abortions in Canada. Abortion tourism does exist in Canada and people are forced to travel for them often forced to have other medical meetings they don’t want.”
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada Executive Director Joyce Arthur agrees with Meletis stating that accessing abortion services for people in rural and remote areas such as Prince George and northern BC is far from ideal.
“People are often having to travel long distances, especially from rural areas in the north. There is just not enough access points as they are mostly concentrated in the major cities and some provinces like Ontario and New Brunswick don’t have fully funded abortions.”
“We have the abortion pill thank goodness and that makes things much safer for a lot of people but not many people know about it. Some people may still be compelled to undertake dangerous abortion methods and this is going to have an impact in Canada and around the world. I think it may embolden anti-choice movements and governments around the world to make restrictions on abortion rights.”
Arthur also sees a scenario where a small percentage of women from the United States make the trek to Canada to get an abortion if not applicable in the state they live in.
“What we are looking at is probably American women trying to come up to Canada to have an abortion. It won’t be a lot because you need a passport and you’ll have to pay for the procedure so it will be more privileged people coming up but still, it could really overwhelm our health care system.”
Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond stated it’s important for the Liberals to remain firm in their support of reproductive rights.
“We support a woman’s right to choose. It is often a very personal and emotional decision but obviously, we support a woman’s right to choose.”
“We remain steadfast that we would oppose any effort to revoke or restrict access to choice.”
Opinion polls show a majority of Americans are against overturning the ruling.
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced last month that his government would ensure that women’s rights are always protected in this country.