‘A Huge Setback’: World Leaders Respond to End of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court ending the constitutional right to abortion only applies to the US, but it has reverberated across the world.
roe v wade global reaction
People protests the SCOTUS ruling in Paris. PHOTO: Owen Franken - Corbis/Getty Images

France

The party of French President Emmanuel Macron moved quickly over the weekend to begin the process of enshrining abortion rights in the French constitution.

He swiftly condemned Friday’s decision, saying: “Abortion is a fundamental right for all women. It must be protected. I wish to express my solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States.”

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Denmark

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said her “heart weeps for the girls and women of the USA.”

“A huge setback,” she wrote on Facebook. “The right to a free abortion is one of the most fundamental rights there is. We must never compromise the unrestricted right of women to decide over their own bodies and future.”

UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Supreme Court overturning a 1973 decision that legalised abortion in the US was a “big step backwards.”

“This is not our court, it’s another jurisdiction, but clearly it has massive impacts on people’s thinking around the world. It’s a very important decision. I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s a big step backwards,” he said. “I’ve always believed in a woman’s right to choose and I stick to that view. And that’s why the UK has the laws that it does and actually we recently took steps to make sure that those laws were enforced throughout the whole of the UK.”

In the UK, many women in Northern Ireland and Scotland still have difficulty accessing terminations up to the legal 24-week limit and forced to make the journey to England to have the procedure. 

Greece

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was “Really troubled by the decision of the US Supreme Court.”

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“It is a major step back in the fight for women’s rights,” he tweeted.

Sweden

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson tweeted: “The right to legal and safe abortion is fundamental. To deprive women of their individual choice is a serious reversion of the protection of rights and health. Yesterday was a giant step back for girls and women in the US.”

Spain

“We cannot take any rights for granted. Social achievements are always at risk of going backwards and we have to defend them daily. Women must be able to decide freely about their lives,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter

Spain is currently moving to liberalise its abortion laws, and allow terminations for women aged 16 and over without them having to get permission from their guardians

Germany

Olaf Scholz tweeted to celebrate Germany’s scrapping of a Nazi-era rule that criminalised doctors who advertised abortion services, at the same time as condemning the US Supreme Court’s decision. 

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“It's good that #219a will soon be history,” he wrote, referring to the Nazi-era law. “But yesterday also reminds us that there is still a long way to go for gender justice. In Germany - and in many other parts of the world. Women's rights are threatened. We must defend them resolutely. #RoeVsWade.”

 

Canada

“The news coming out of the United States is horrific. My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can’t imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

He added, “No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body. I want women in Canada to know that we will always stand up for your right to choose.”
Americans are able to access abortions if they travel to Canada, but the cost of the trip is prohibitively high for most people.