In Canada, anti-abortion troops are screaming “victory.” The inverse of Roe v. Wade in the United States will, they hope, revitalize the movement at home. But it remains marginal, believes one expert.
Posted at 5:00 am
Once announced, the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, who defended abortion rights in the United States, was applauded by anti-abortion organizations in Canada.
The Campaign Life Coalition, one of the most influential organizations in anti-abortion circles in Canada, called it a “victory of life” and celebrated “the loosening of the abortion movement’s iron grip on America.”
Above all, the long-awaited decision has fueled the hopes of anti-abortion activists in Canada.
“It’s a day of celebration around the world,” Hanna Kepka, director of intergovernmental relations for the Campaign Life Coalition, responded in a phone interview.
This decision is inspiring throughout the pro-life community and in Canada as well.
Hanna Kepka, Campaign Life Coalition
In Canada, the anti-abortion movement is marginal, but stresses Louise Langevin, a specialist in reproductive autonomy at the University of Laval. And it’s even more so in Quebec. But we must not let go of our vigilance. Elsewhere in the country “they are more active”. “You look organized,” she says.
On Saturday, Campagne Québec-Vie organized a “pro-life pilgrimage” on the streets of Montreal.
“We are more motivated by this decision. There is a surge of hope,” responded the President and General Manager of the association, Georges Buscemi.
He doesn’t expect to see “a cavalry” of anti-abortionists landing anytime soon, especially in Quebec, where abortion rights are very well protected and recognized. “But there will be a long-term effect, at least culturally and then legally,” he believes.
“Nothing is Ever Won”
The vast majority of Canadians support abortion rights. According to a recent poll conducted by Léger for the Association for Canadian Studies, about 14% oppose it.
Women, women’s groups need to monitor what’s happening. Nothing is ever won for women to control them, even if the issue is settled on a legal level.
Louise Langevin, specialist in reproductive autonomy rights at Laval University
Could anti-abortion protesters protest in front of abortion clinics to exert pressure, as in the US?
No, because in Quebec, a law passed in 2016 bans demonstrations within 50 meters of abortion clinics. Ontario, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador have also enacted similar laws.
“You can’t go directly to the women who go there to change their minds,” explains Louise Langevin.
Even if the anti-abortion movement took more space and expanded political debate, our legal context is vastly different from that of the United States, recalls Ms.e Sophie Gagnon, lawyer and director of Juripop.
The appointment of Supreme Court justices, for example, “is much less politicized and partisan in Canada,” she adds.
An arrow to the Conservatives
In an interview, Georges Buscemi of the Quebec Life campaign shot an arrow at elected conservatives who “seem afraid of getting wet with these questions”. “I find this attitude of hypersensitivity and fear completely untenable,” he says.
The anti-abortion activist did, however, salute party leadership candidate Leslyn Lewis, who spoke out “without apology” about the ouster of Roe v. Wade. On Twitter, she opposed “forced abortions” and “gender”.
“Canada is not the United States. We can have mature conversations,” she wrote.