Jun 24, 2022 - World

"Horrific": World leaders react to end of Roe v. Wade in U.S.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Image

Many world leaders and international human rights groups condemned Friday's U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and effectively ending all federal protections on abortion in the United States. Others, including the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life, praised it.

The big picture: With Friday's decision, the U.S. became a global outlier on abortion rights, joining just three other countries that have rolled back abortion access since 1994, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights. In the last 25 years, nearly 60 countries have liberalized their abortion laws.

Here's a look at how world leaders and politicians reacted to Friday's decision:

"One of the darkest days for women's rights"

  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: "One of the darkest days for women’s rights in my lifetime. Obviously, the immediate consequences will be suffered by women in the US — but this will embolden anti-abortion & anti-women forces in other countries too. Solidarity doesn’t feel enough right now — but it is necessary."
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: "I think it's a big step backward. ... I've always believed in a woman's right to choose and I stick to that view and that is why the UK has the laws that it does."
  • French President Emmanuel Macron: "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."
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: "The news coming out of the United States is horrific. ... 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."
  • Antonia Orellana, Chile's minister of women and gender equality: "The ruling of [the U.S.] Supreme Court that makes abortion illegal reminds us that there is always a risk of going backward. In Latin America, we advance on the path of rights, and from Chile we will continue to strongly defend the full autonomy of women."
  • Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo: "Very concerned about implications of [the U.S. Supreme Court] decision on #RoeVWade and the signal it sends to the world. Banning abortion never leads to fewer abortions, only to more unsafe abortions."
Abortion laws around the world
Data: Center for Reproductive Rights; Map: Axios Visuals

'Makes abortion more deadly"

  • UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet: Friday's decision "is a huge blow to women’s human rights and gender equality. Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human right law and is at the core of women and girls’ autonomy and ability to make their own choices about their bodies and lives, free of discrimination, violence and coercion."
  • WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: "I am very disappointed, because women’s rights must be protected. And I would have expected America to protect such rights," Tedros told Reuters on the sidelines of a Commonwealth summit in Rwanda.
  • UN secretary-general spokesperson Stephane Dujarric: "Sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation of a life of choice, empowerment and equality for the world's women and girls. ... Restricting access to abortion does not prevent people from seeking abortion, it only makes it more deadly."

"Good decision"

  • Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life: "The fact that a large country with a long democratic tradition has changed its position on this issue also challenges the whole world. ... The protection and defense of human life is not an issue that can remain confined to the exercise of individual rights but instead is a matter of broad social significance."
  • Brazilian Sen. Flávio Bolsonaro, son of President Jair Bolsonaro: “The defense of life resurfaces in the U.S., where the Supreme Court suspended after 49 years the decision guaranteeing the right to abortion. … Congratulations to the Americans!”
  • Argentine lawmaker Amalia Granata: "In the world, there is justice again. In Argentina, we are going to achieve it too!!"
  • Beatrix von Storch, a member of Germany’s far-right AfD party: A good decision, ... The [U.S.] Supreme Court sends a signal of hope for the unborn life. That radiates to the whole West."

Go deeper: End of Roe v. Wade could endanger abortion access worldwide, rights groups warn

Go deeper