Trudeau says he's now totally pro-choice, personal abortion views evolved

WATCH ABOVE: 'I've evolved': Trudeau addresses former stance on abortion

QUEBEC — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he is no longer opposed in any way to abortion, going back on a personal position he staked out in 2011.

Trudeau said Friday he has moved on from his previously held stance of being against abortion itself but supporting a woman’s right to choose.

“I evolved past that particular perspective,” Trudeau said during an event in Quebec City.

“I continue to be and will always be fully pro choice but I no longer feel that I can or need to say that I’m against abortion, that’s not for me as a man to say.”

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Though Trudeau has faced questions on abortion during the election campaign, this was the first time since it kicked off that he directly addressed his personal opinions on the issue.

Trudeau’s comments come a day after his chief rival, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, said he is against abortion but will oppose any efforts to legislate against it.

Scheer was known to be anti-abortion in the past but he had previously avoided calls to clarify his stance during the campaign, including a pummelling from other leaders about his current point of view during Wednesday’s French leaders debate.

Trudeau said he thinks Scheer should have cleared it up sooner.

“One of the things that Mr. Scheer is recognizing is he should have been much clearer earlier with Canadians about his personal anti-choice convictions,” Trudeau said.

“It would have avoided a lot of speculation, a lot of dragged out questions.”

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Trudeau said the question now facing Canadians is whether they believe Scheer will stand up for women’s rights.

Asked last month whether he was still personally against abortion, Trudeau did not mention that his view had changed, stating “that every woman in Canada gets to choose what she does with her own body, with her own reproductive rights.”

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 1988 that abortion law violated Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A new law never emerged to align with the decision — despite attempts to pass one — leaving it to the provinces to regulate access to a medical procedure now treated like any other.

Trudeau flew to Quebec City from Montreal on Friday morning, stopping in at a restaurant to chat with locals in the Liberal-held riding of Louis-Hebert, which has also veered between Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and NDP in the past dozen years.

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Diners asked the Liberal leader about everything from cellphone bills and environmental protection to how often he sees his kids and what he eats the campaign trail.

“We buy sandwiches… and pizza — but not too often,” Trudeau said, turning to his 10-year-old daughter.

The Liberal leader was slated to make a stop in Rimouski, Que., before continuing on to Ottawa Friday evening.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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