Unless you’ve been actively trying to avoid the news, you already know that the Supreme Court of the US leaked a draft decision that, if it matches the final, will essentially throw Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that made abortion into a constitutionally protected right in the United States, out the door. The moment this happens, many states have legislation in place that will automatically make abortion illegal the moment it is allowed to be so.
This shouldn’t affect Canada too much, except that it will. First and foremost, it brings back into focus the abortion debate. Canada remains a nation with no laws surrounding abortion, ever since our own Supreme Court struck down the laws restricting abortion as being infringements on a person’s ability to maintain “the security of the person” and the government of the time, or any government since, declined to try to create any new ones.
This is a debate that most conservative politicians do not want to have at all. After all, most Canadians, and even a large portion of conservative supporters, are of the opinion that a woman should have the right to choose who or what is using her body. However, there is a small contingent of Canadians, who happen to make up a vocal contingent of conservative party supporters, who do not agree with this at all.
As we can see here in Alberta, if a significant chunk of your party has strong ideas about what they want, even if those ideas are unpalatable to most of the population, as a politician you have little choice but to listen to them if you want to keep your job. And even then, that may only be a short-term solution. One that may make it harder to keep the job past the next election.
So to conservative politicians, the abortion debate puts them between the rock of the opinion of their socially conservative supporters, and the hard place that is the opinion of most Canadians. Needless to say, it’s a place the they’d rather not be in.
Meanwhile, the ruling may also mean women leave their home states to seek out an abortion. And while some states are considering legislation that would seek to penalize a woman who does that, it would be very difficult for those states to get information from Canadian providers. This means we may become a favored destination for medial tourism from the US states specifically for abortion. It’s hard to imagine that this would not cause a reaction here, especially among the more socially conservative elements of society.
Or in short, the debate is going to be coming back, whether we want it to or not. This will, in turn, give conservative opponents a lot of ammunition against a conservative party that requires it’s socially conservative wing simply to stay relevant. The CPC can’t divorce itself from it’s more socially conservative elements without losing any hope of attaining power, but can’t be seen appeasing them too much or it enflames the “Anybody But Conservative” movements, meaning the more progressive vote in Canada will coalesce around a single party, also eliminating any hope of conservatives attaining power. It’s interesting to see how as the United States swings further to the right, their swing may cause a reactionary swing in Canada in the opposite direction.