Reproductive New Brunswick says a new clinic set to open in Fredericton that will offer abortions is a major step forward for access to reproductive services in the province.
Spokeswoman Jessi Taylor says Clinic 554 will open at the site of the former Morgentaler Clinic in the coming weeks after a fundraising campaign raised more than $125,000 to help it begin operations. The Morgentaler Clinic was the only private facility in the province offering abortions before it closed in July because of a lack of funds.
“On behalf of all New Brunswickers, we thank the more than 1,500 people and organizations who immediately jumped on board to support this critical issue and the fundraising initiative from the moment it was announced,” said Allison Webster, treasurer of RJNB, in a statement.
— Allison Webster (@allisonnell) January 16, 2015
The Morgentaler Clinic shut its doors in July after announcing that it couldn’t continue without provincial support. At the time, New Brunswick medicare only covered abortions performed at one of two hospitals, and only if the patient received approval of two doctors who deemed the procedure “medically necessary.”
Women who went to the Morgentaler Clinic had to pay out of pocket for the procedure, but with shorter wait times and no hoops to jump through, the clinic had been performing 60 per cent of the approximately 1,000 abortions obtained each year in the province. It had been operating for 20 years before it closed.
When Premier Brian Gallant’s Liberal Party was elected last year, the party promised changes to the section of New Brunswick’s Medical Services Payment Act that restricted abortion access. Starting Jan. 1, women no longer need the approval of two doctors, but procedures must still be done in hospitals by a specialist. That means there’s still no funding for private clinics and, according to RJNB, that’s just not good enough.
— Jessi Taylor (@SpottedJessicat) January 16, 2015
“As it stands, if the very same physician were to perform an abortion in the more costly and cumbersome hospital setting, the service would be paid for by the government. This makes no fiscal, health or common sense,” said a statement from the group.
“The New Brunswick government continues to violate the Canada Health Act and put people’s lives at risk,” said RJNB spokesperson Jessi Taylor. “New Brunswickers deserve better. We have a system where those with enough luck and privilege can access the services they need, but luck and privilege is not the same as access.”