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World leaders react to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade

Protests erupt in U.S. after Supreme Court ruling
Demonstrations erupt across U.S. after Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade 01:17

The international community is speaking out after Friday's landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, marking a major change in abortion rights in the United States. 

A protester holds a sign during a rally in support of worldwide abortion rights in Paris, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned America's constitutional right to abortion, on June 24, 2022. Stephanie De Sakutin DE/AFP via Getty Images

In the dissenting opinion, the court's three liberal justices, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, wrote the U.S. "will become international outliers after today."

Below is a look at the reactions of some of the world's highest leaders. 

United Nations

UN Secretary General spokesperson Stephane Dujarric on Friday reiterated the organization's position on abortion: "That sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation of a life of choice, empowerment and equality for the world's women and girls." 

"It's also important to note that restricting access to abortion does not prevent people from seeking abortion; it only makes it more deadly," Dujarric added. "UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) tells us that some 45 per cent of all abortions around the world are unsafe, making it a leading cause of maternal [death]." 

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called the ruling a "major setback."

"Access to safe, legal and effective abortion is firmly rooted in international human rights 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," Bachelet said. "This decision strips such autonomy from millions of women in the U.S., in particular those with low incomes and those belonging to racial and ethnic minorities, to the detriment of their fundamental rights."

United Kingdom

"Look, I'll be absolutely clear with everybody. This is not our court," U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday, according to the Associated Press. "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 added. "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, if you look, we recently took steps to make sure that those laws were enforced throughout the whole of the U.K."


"One of the darkest days for women's rights in my lifetime," First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon said Friday. "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."


"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," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "I can't imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now."

"No government, politician, or man should tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body," he continued. "I want women in Canada to know that we will always stand up for your right to choose."


"We cannot take any rights for granted," Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said, in a tweet translated to English. "Social achievements are always at risk of going backwards and their defense has to be our day to day. Women must be able to decide freely about their lives."


"The right to abortion can either be banned or tightened in several US states after the US Supreme Court has now overturned the historic ruling from 1972 that surely American women have this right," Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said, in a tweet translated to English. "This is a serious step backwards for women's rights!"


"Abortion is a fundamental right for all women," French President Emmanuel Macron said, in a tweet translated to English. "It must be protected. I express my solidarity with the women whose freedoms are today challenged by the Supreme Court of the United States of America."

"Appalling: the US Supreme Court's revocation of the right to abortion represents a major setback for fundamental rights," French Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna wrote Friday. "The [French] will continue to mobilize in their defense."


"Very concerned about implications of [the Supreme Court] decision on #RoeVWade and the signal it sends to the world," Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said. "Banning abortion never leads to fewer abortions, only to more unsafe abortions. Belgium will continue to work with other countries to advance #SRHR everywhere."

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