Justin Trudeau plans to confront Mike Pence over U.S. abortion bans when they meet this week

According to a report from the CBC this Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he plans to bring up the growing number of extreme anti-abortion laws in the U.S. when he meets with US Vice President Mike Pence this coming Thursday.

“Obviously I am very concerned with the situation around the backsliding of women’s rights that we’re seeing from conservative movements here in Canada, in the United States and around the world,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

“I will have a broad conversation with the vice president in which, of course, that’ll come up. But we’re going to mostly focus on the ratification process of NAFTA and making sure that we get good jobs for Canadians.”

Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Georgia, have all signed bills into law that ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as 6 weeks into a pregnancy. Alabama passed a law making it illegal for doctors to perform the procedure altogether.

The two will meet in Ottawa on Thursday where Pence plans to push for the “quick ratification” of the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Abortion is not the divisive political debate in Canadian mainstream politics as it is here in the US. But according to The Washington Post‘s Emily Rauhala, “Trudeau and the journalists who pressed him on it are well aware of the significance of the issue to an American conservative such as Pence.”

Trudeau’s remarks could dampen what the White House billed as an upbeat trip focused on Trump administration priorities such as trade and growth. They also provide a glimpse of the growing political distance between the Trump administration and the Trudeau government.

Abortion has been legal in Canada since 1988, but the country’s liberal party is accusing conservatives of wanting to bring the debate back to the forefront.

As the CBC points out, this Wednesday Bloc Quebecois MP Monique Pauzé stood and asked her fellow MPs to reaffirm that “a woman’s body belongs to her and to her alone and recognize her right to choose an abortion regardless of the reason.”

Pauzé got a standing ovation from her fellow liberals while conservatives remained seated.

Featured image: screen grab via CBC News/NBC News

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