If the Roe vs Wade decision is overturned, abortion law would return to the state level, with about 26 US states likely to ban abortion following the ruling. While only those who can afford to cross the border will travel to Canada or Mexico, others are expected to travel to states where the procedure is still legal.
Before abortion was legalised in Canada in 1988, a number of women crossed the border to the US to get abortions done. The same is likely to happen, but in reverse. This time, women from the US seeking abortions could come to Canada.
Earlier this month, Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister of Families, said American women seeking abortions could access services in Canada if the US Supreme Court overturns Roe vs Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that gave women the right to abort.
“If they, people, come here and need access, certainly, you know, that’s a service that would be provided,” Gould said in an interview with CBC News on May 3.
Last week, US political news outlet Politico reported that the US Supreme Court had voted to strike down the landmark Roe vs Wade decision, ending federal protections for abortions.
The initial draft opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito of the US Supreme Court and circulated inside the court repudiated the 1973 ruling and a subsequent 1992 decision — Planned Parenthood vs Casey — which also maintained the right. The opinion claimed that the Roe decision was "egregiously wrong from the start," Politico, which had obtained the copy of the draft, reported.
If the Roe vs Wade decision is overturned, abortion law would return to the state level. About 26 states in the US are likely to ban abortion following the ruling, The Guardian reported, quoting the Guttmacher Institute, an American sexual and reproductive health rights research organisation.
Mexico ready for influx
Meanwhile, Mexico is also preparing for an increase in visits by American pregnant women to access abortion services. The Mexican Supreme Court in 2021 ruled it unconstitutional to criminalise abortion. However, the access to services still varies from one state to another.
In the border cities of Mexico, both private and public clinics are preparing for an influx. The cities of Tijuana and Coahuila recently set up services, Vero Cruz, coordinator of advocacy group Las Libres, told The Guardian.
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“The women who are crossing into Mexico are coming to Monterrey, Tijuana and other cities to have abortions using medication,” she said. In certain Mexican states, surgical operations in public clinics and abortion pills are free.
However, only those who can afford to cross the border will probably travel to Canada or Mexico. Others are expected to travel internally between states to those that are unlikely to outlaw the procedure.