“… I am requesting asylum in Canada.”

This is a hypothetical scenario, meant to get us thinking about what the governments in North America may need to prepare for in the near future. Because I’m not in American law enforcement… details may need correcting.

In the early morning of Thursday June 5, 2025, Dr. Aaron Silver kissed his sleeping children, said goodbye to his wife, and, taking a USB key with the only copy of his office files, left his suburban home in Austin, Texas.  He had been tipped off as to what was coming.

Texas police knocked on the door of his house to execute a search warrant and an arrest warrant, at approximately 7 a.m.  They were looking for his office’s medical files, which would document and layout the work he had been doing for the past months.  Doctor Silver was accused of having murdered many (unborn) infants, by offering private, illegal, medical services to safely terminate unwanted pregnancies at his clinic.

Using cameras and other existing tools Texas authorities pursued the fugitive doctor as best they could. When he had stopped for gas and food, Dr. Silver had paid in cash.  He’d worn a baseball hat and sunglasses to conceal his identity. Texas tracked his car north to Oklahoma. At this point the FBI became involved, because the Doctor had crossed state lines to avoid arrest, and was wanted for murder

North across Oklahoma, the Doctor’s trip then took him west across Missouri.  The governor of Illinois was not cooperative with the investigation efforts, and it took a few days to get past the bureaucratic roadblocks and foot dragging. Doctor Silver would later explain that he drove more than 14 hours to East St. Louis, Illinois, where there was a safehouse waiting for him.  The FBI found his abandoned car days later.

On Starting June 6, a network of three drivers and cars got the Doctor from East St. Louis, across Illinois and Indiana, to Toledo Ohio. From there, a car had been rented for him, and he drove himself across the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit to Ontario, Canada.

On the evening of June 9, 2025, when he got to Canadian Customs, Dr. Silver declared “My name, is Dr. Aaron Silver.  I am facing political persecution, and murder charges because of my political and religious beliefs.  I am requesting asylum in Canada.” A camera crew was waiting for him, to document his arrival.

His family would cross the border to join him a week later, and he had started work to get his (terminated) Texas medical license recognized by the College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario.

  • This scenario assumes that over the next 3 years, US abortion law, particularly in Texas regresses significantly.  Abortions are made illegal, and declared criminally murder.  Doctors performing abortions to terminate pregnancies, will be murderers.
  • The scenario also assumes that Canada’s abortion laws do not change (i.e. there are no laws governing abortion, it’s just a medical procedure, and neither the Ontario, nor the Canadian government choose to address this.  And… Canadians are just fine with this).
  • Note that Canada and the US currently have a “Safe Third Country” agreement, meaning that those claiming refugee status in either country, must seek it in the first country they land in, and cannot cross the border “shopping” for better.  Implicitly Canada and the US both believe that you cannot reasonable be a refugee from one to the other.

Questions:

  • In this scenario, Dr. Silver is wanted for murder in Texas, and he has been providing abortion services, privately, while they have been illegal.  Should Texas/the U.S. government seek to extradict him from Canada?
  • In this scenario, should Canada provide Dr. Silver with refugee status, given what he claims is his persecution as a doctor terminating pregnancies, by those who disagree with him for religious and political reasons?
  • How would you counsel the respective governments to approach this issue?
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