In his short time in office, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has established himself as one of the world’s leading abortion advocates. In May, he made headlines when he declared all Liberal MPs must vote along party (i.e. pro-choice) lines on any legislation related to abortion regardless of personal views, and he now finds himself back in the news for equating abortion rights to “human rights” in conversation with newly elected Irish taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
During a three-day meeting this week, Trudeau and Varadkar discussed the potential ramifications of an upcoming referendum in Ireland that would repeal the Eighth Amendment to the Irish constitution. Currently, the amendment protects the “right to life of the unborn,” meaning abortion is illegal except in cases where there is a “real and substantial risk” to the mother’s life.
“We discussed the issue of abortion, which I know is an important issue for a lot of campaigners for women’s rights in Canada,” Varadkar told reporters of his conversation with Trudeau. “I updated the prime minister on our plans to have a referendum next year to give the people of Ireland the opportunity to remove our constitutional ban on abortion, should they wish to do so.”
As the Catholic Herald reported, Canada has some of the world’s most lenient abortion laws, with women permitted to terminate pregnancies for virtually any reason at any stage prior to birth. Trudeau said he told his Irish counterpart that he believes “reproductive rights” are “human rights.”
“On the issue of reproductive rights, I shared our perspective that reproductive rights for women are integral to women’s rights in general and women’s rights are human rights and I encouraged him to look at it as a question of fundamental rights for women and we had a good discussion on that,” he said.
While Varadkar seemed open to Trudeau’s input on the subject, he has defended the Irish people’s right to determine their own laws. Life News reported that the taoiseach recently clapped back at a UN committee’s criticism of Ireland’s abortion ban.
“One thing I would be very firm about,” he said, “is that whatever laws we have in Ireland, those laws should be determined by either the Irish people through a referendum or through the Oireachtas voting democratically.”
(H/T: Life News)