Impact of Roe v. Wade ruling felt in Ottawa

The impact of the Roe v. Wade ruling in the United States, allowing states to ban abortions, is being felt here in the nation’s capital.

Pro-choice organizations say Americans are already calling Canadian support lines to ask for help in gaining access to a safe abortion.

"We have seen an increase in people calling us and asking for support in finding an abortion here in Canada," said Jaisie Walker, executive director of Planned Parenthood Ottawa. "It is not only incredibly scary for them, but also impacts clinic wait times and other services in Canada that are already under resourced here as well."

Walker says an increase in those calls started after the leak of a draft opinion that indicated the United States Supreme Court was prepared to do so.

“Global research suggests that whether it is legal or illegal, people who are pregnant will still search it out,” said Margot Francis, an associate professor at Brock University’s Centre for Women and Gender Studies. “Criminalizing abortion does not decrease the number of abortions, it means they are less safe.”

In Canada, there’s no specific law around abortion and the medical procedure is legal. 

"We don’t have specific laws," said Walker. "What will happen and what is already happening, is a massive impact on stigma and access."

Meanwhile, anti-abortion supporters celebrated the overturning of the Roe. v. Wade decision in the United States.

“This is amazing, this is probably the best day in American history and in my lifetime it’s incredible,” said one supporter. “Thank god for all the people who have been fighting for more than 50 years.”

Abortion was decriminalized in Canada in 1988 as a result of a landmark decision, in which the Supreme Court of Canada struck down a federal law. Since then there’s been no legislation that was ever passed to replace it.

Dozens of people gathered outside the U.S. Embassy on Sussex Drive Friday evening to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional protections for abortion.