Abortion: Quebec and Ottawa defend freedom of choice

The US Supreme Court’s announced ban on abortion sparked consternation from Quebec to Ottawa, where lawmakers and ministers defended women’s “fundamental” right to access it. The position was not unanimous, as a handful of federal conservatives blocked passage of such a motion in the House of Commons.

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A Bloc Québécois motion recognizing the “free choice of abortion for any reason,” which required unanimity in the House to pass, was blocked by some Conservative votes, causing visible dismay from Quebec Trustee Gérard Deltell.

Shortly before the start of Question Time, Minister Mélanie Joly reiterated that the right to an abortion is not a matter of course “even in Canada”.

“What happens in the United States happens in the United States. For my part, of course, I find that extremely worrying,” said the Foreign Minister.

“Shocked and frustrated,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in the House of Representatives, saying it was important for her to highlight “our government’s clear and resolute commitment to protecting women’s fundamental right to choose freely.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement on Twitter saying, “The right to vote is a woman’s right, period.”

A motion in the National Assembly to defend access to abortion was accepted by all parties represented.

The elected officials from Quebec expressed “their sincere solidarity with American women who see this right in question and fear that the mere fact of losing an important part of their freedom.”

“It is an inalienable right for all women in Quebec, and there is no doubt that we will always stand with women when it comes to voluntary abortion,” Attorney General Simon-Jolin-Barette said during a press crowd .

“In Quebec it is undeniable that the debate was held a long time ago, we will never get back to it.”

In the morning, conservative federal lawmakers were asked by their incumbent Chairperson Candice Bergen not to comment on the upcoming decision by the United States Supreme Court, according to an internal email obtained by the QMI agency Tuesday.

“Conservatives will not comment on draft judgments leaked from the United States Supreme Court,” it said.

Later in the day, Ms Bergen released a statement stressing that the party’s official position remains that of the Harper era: “Access to abortion was not restricted under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the Conservative Party will not introduce legislation and will not reopen the abortion debate”.

Jean Charest, the candidate running for leadership of the PCC, presented himself as pro-choice and indicated that he “will not support legislation restricting reproductive rights”.

“While I respect MPs’ right to introduce private members’ conscience bills, I will not support them,” he tweeted.

The issue of abortion has caused many headaches for the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in the past, particularly during federal elections.

In the 2019 vote, then-Chairman Andrew Scheer lost ground after coming out as “personally anti-life,” despite assurances the file would remain closed.

Mr. Scheer is not alone in this position within the parliamentary group.

Outspoken pro-life leadership contender Leslyn Lewis surprised everyone when she finished third on her first attempt in 2020.

Perceived as a “social conservative,” Ms. Lewis was able to confirm her superiority over a significant portion of the conservative anti-abortion movement over the next few months and up to the next leader’s election date of September 10 next year.

The shocking news that “POLITICO” published on Monday evening set the powder on fire in the United States. This could put the issue of abortion back at the forefront of the Conservative leadership race.

-In collaboration with Geneviève Lajoie, JdQ

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