Politics

Trudeau says his personal stance on abortion has 'evolved'

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said today his personal views on abortion have "evolved" over the years, and he no longer believes a man should say he's anti-abortion.

Trudeau says it makes no sense for men to say they are pro-choice but against abortion

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau speaks to the media while campaigning Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Montreal, Que. The Liberal camp has tried to make support for abortion in issue this campaign. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said today his personal views on abortion have "evolved" in the years since he stated that, while he opposed abortion personally, he supported a woman's right to choose.

While defending his Catholic faith in a 2011 article, Trudeau said he was personally opposed to abortion but believed nobody should tell a woman what she should do with her body.

"I expressed something I no longer believe," Trudeau told reporters Friday during a stop in Quebec City, when asked about that article. "I evolved past that particular perspective.

"I no longer feel like I can or need to say that I'm against abortion. That is not for me, as a man, to say."

The Liberal camp has worked to make Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer's personal views on abortion an issue in this election campaign.

Earlier this week, Trudeau and the NDP and Bloc leaders pressed Scheer during a French election debate to say how he feels personally about abortion. Scheer tried to side-step the question, saying the abortion debate in Canada is settled.

The next morning, Scheer, a practising Catholic, said he is personally opposed to abortion but insisted again that a Conservative government led by him would not move to restrict access to the procedure.

Scheer says he's 'personally pro-life'

"I am personally pro-life but I've also made the commitment that, as leader of this party, it is my responsibility to ensure that we do not re-open this debate, that we focus on issues that unite our party and unite Canadians," Scheer said Thursday.

When running for the party's leadership in 2017, Scheer told the anti-abortion group RightNow that he would allow "freedom of conscience" for backbenchers.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said his personal views on abortion have "evolved" over the years, despite saying he was personally opposed to abortion in 2011. Trudeau says it's not coherent for men to say they are pro-choice but against abortion. He was answering reporter questions during a stop in Quebec. 0:50

"I can assure you that I support the right to individual MPs to speak out and bring, introduce matters that are important to them, but our party policy is clear on that and I think in order to maintain unity of our caucus it's important that the prime minister respects that," he said.

In that interview, Scheer, a known social conservative, also said he has always voted in favour of "pro-life" legislation.

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