NORTHERN HANDOUT: Canada to offer assistance to American women affected by Alito opinion

NORTHERN HANDOUT: Canada to offer assistance to American women affected by Alito opinion

A leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion has revealed to the American public the intent of a majority of justices to overturn the landmark abortion rights decision, Roe v. Wade — and our neighbors in Canada are watching.

It would constitute a major rollback of modern legal rights that have been in place for over fifty years, and the effort by the Supreme Court to undermine the right to privacy that Roe stands on could lead to the striking down of landmark decisions like Obergefell, which requires states to recognize same-sex marriage, or Griswold, which allowed the buying and use of contraceptives without government restriction.

The United States is already falling far behind other developed countries in terms of establishing a basic social safety net for people. We lack paid family leave, universal healthcare, subsidized child care, and now, likely will be left without safe and legal access to abortion thanks to the likely upcoming Supreme Court ruling.

It’s embarrassing just how regressive our country is compared to the rest of the world.

Now, Canada has stepped in offering Americans who seek an abortion an opportunity to do so within their borders, adding further embarrassment to the U.S., whose reactionary politicians seemed determined to turn back the clock on all social progress.

“I don’t see why we would not,” said Karina Gould, the Canadian minister of families, children, and social development. “If they, people, come here and need access, certainly, you know, that’s a service that would be provided.”

Abortion is technically legal in Canada at any point in the pregnancy although it is rarely performed beyond 23 weeks unless the life of the mother is at risk or the fetus has very serious malformations.

Canada provides universal health care to its people. but Americans who seek an abortion there would have to pay out-of-pocket or with their own health insurance if not covered by a Canadian health plan. While Canada offers an option for Americans concerned about the potential of losing legal rights that have been observed and respected for decades, those who may want to seek an abortion in Canada face significant hurdles, like a lack of financial resources to travel internationally.

Americans with healthcare access in other countries have for a long time sought treatment outside of the United States due to our system being so unaffordable. Our increasingly sad state of affairs is now leading to neighboring countries offering basic services due to a rollback of legal rights observed in most developed countries and that have been in place for decades and are now threatened by Justice Alito’s draft Supreme Court opinion.

We can’t allow the theocrats and extreme conservatives to destroy the social progress and freedoms that we worked so hard to achieve.

Thomas Kennedy is an elected Democratic National Committee member representing Florida. He tweets from @tomaskenn.

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Thomas Kennedy

is a reported opinion columnist and roving correspondent. He's an elected member of the Democratic National Committee from Florida and a Director of Sunshine Agenda Inc. a government transparency nonprofit organization.