RJNB Wants Abortion Access Questions Included in NB Leaders’ Debates

FREDERICTON, NB, August 28, 2014 – Reproductive Justice NB is calling on organizations and media outlets hosting leaders’ debates during the New Brunswick election to include questions about abortion access. As a leading healthcare issue facing the province, leaders must make their positions clear on how they would rectify the lack of safe, equitable and accessible reproductive health care for all New Brunswickers.

“Since the closure of the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton just over a month ago, our group has received countless calls and emails from New Brunswickers who are, quite frankly, terrified,” said Kathleen Pye, Chair of Reproductive Justice NB (RJNB). “A doctor shortage and personal financial restrictions given the current economic climate in the Province make the current two-doctor regulation particularly dangerous. Some will be fortunate enough to have the funding to be able to travel out-of-province to have a self-referred abortion. Others will be forced into desperate measures. It is the health, well being, and safety of all New Brunswickers on the line. Legislators must answer to this crisis. Now.”

Since announcing the clinic closure in April, there has been a groundswell of provincial and national support for New Brunswick’s restrictive abortion rules to change. An RJNB-led campaign to raise $100,000 to work to secure a lease for the clinic and recruit healthcare professionals with a pro-choice mandate reached its goal in less than two weeks. And on the eve of a provincial election, voters have taken to social media to express their concerns about lack of access.

“We encourage every voter who wants reproductive justice in the form of province-wide access to abortion services to speak to every candidate who knocks on their door,” said Pye. “This is our opportunity to demand answers and action from our provincial leaders.”

The provincial leaders running for office in the New Brunswick election have all answered questions about abortion access to some degree via media interviews. The various leaders’ debates (televised or not) will provide an opportunity for leaders to be clear on their stance on this critical health care issue that must be addressed.

For more information about the crisis facing New Brunswickers, please visit: http://rjnb.org/ and follow us on Twitter @ReproJusticeNB and with the hashtag #NBProchoice.

New Brunswick Liberal leader says candidates expected to be pro-choice

Via The Toronto Sun

“New Brunswick’s provincial Liberal leader is taking federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s line in warning his candidates to either support abortion rights or get out of the way.

Brian Gallant said he plans to “remove barriers” to abortion if elected.

“Any candidate that will respect that position and that will support that position can run for us,” he told reporters at a stop in Moncton after campaigning with Trudeau. “It’s not about personal preference. It’s about ensuring that we respect a woman’s right to choose and I’ve made that very clear to all 48 candidates that will be running with me in this election.”

 

Read more

CBC – Brian Gallant’s abortion stance offers opportunity and risk

“The impatience with Gallant among abortion-rights activists, and the opposition he has encountered from abortion opponents, is partly a result of his own careful choice of words.

Gallant has declared himself “pro-choice” and has suggested his promised review would almost certainly lead to the repeal of what’s known as the two-doctor rule.

But he has refused to promise an immediate repeal. He says a review is needed to sort out what would happen once the restrictions vanished…

…The ideal political math for Gallant on abortion would be to have some progressive-minded women hold their nose and vote Liberal in the hopes he follows through — while at the same time anti-abortion Liberals remain loyal to the party.

No one can predict yet whether he can make that equation work.”

Read the article here

 

RJNB Protests Liberal Campaign Launch in Fredericton

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Several members of Reproductive Justice New Brunswick were present for the Fredericton-area Liberal campaign launch on Saturday, August 3rd. With an ‘Abortion Access Now’ banner and ‘No vague Promises’ and ‘Show us your repeal Timeline’ posters, RJNB hoped to reinforce the importance of the Liberals clarifying their stance on improving abortion access in NB, and how they plan to “identify all barriers to a woman’s right to choose and eliminate them“.  Although not indicated on the invitation or ticket, RJNB members were told only official Liberal party signs were allowed in the building. Most members remained outside, and were told that nothing in regards to reproductive heath was mentioned.

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The barriers to access have been studied for as long as they’ve existed. The first steps toward ‘eliminating barriers’ to abortion are to:
-Repeal NB Regulation 84-20, Schedule 2 (a.1) of the Medical Services Payment Act which requires two doctors to sign off that the procedure is “medically required” and that it must be performed in a hospital by an OB/GYN;
-Repeal Medical Services Payment Act, Section 2.01, which prohibits government funding of “entitled services furnished in a private hospital facility in the Province”.

NB Liberal leader Brian Gallant: you know #NBProchoice is heading to the polls.  The Green and NDP parties have promised repeal, unequivocally. Stand behind your convictions and inform us of the decisive action you’ll take in regards to abortion access if you’re elected. No more vague promises. No more reviews. New Brunswick deserves safe, accessible, government funded abortion, NOW.

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Media/Link Roundup – August 18

Privileging Infertility over Abortion in New Brunswick – Impact Ethics blog

Reproductive restrictions highlight grey zone of rights – The Star

Pro-choice supporters hold counter-rally in Halifax – Global TV

Abortion Access in New Brunswick – New Website from Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Democracy on Trial: The Morgentaler Affair – Facebook Event for Film Screening in Fredericton (Sept 5)

National Day of Action for Reproductive Justice – Facebook Event, Various Cities (Sept 20)

#AbortionPEI

Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution International Conference takes place Aug. 7 and 8 at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Follow the #AbortionPEI and #NBProchoice hashtags on twitter to get live updates from the conference!

Abortion conference protested with disturbing images – CBC

“It’s hard to study abortion without being an activist” – Article on the Conference from Activehistory.ca

Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution Website

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Media Coverage Roundup – August 6

Efforts aimed at reopening the Morgentaler Clinic – Global

Activists continue fight for better access to abortion in New Brunswick – Rabble.ca

Survey shows the majority of adult Canadians polled (59%) say they are “fine” with no law restricting abortion – Angus Reid Global

N.B. abortion access prompts St. John’s demonstration – CBC

Despite being legal, abortions still not accessible for all Canadians – The Globe and Mail

Abortion conference coming to UPEI – The Guardian

 

Travel and Access to Abortion

Excellent paper on the topic of access in the Maritimes and creating barriers to access by forcing pregnant people to travel for abortion care:

On July 18th, the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton performed its last abortion. Without government funding, and the generous support of Dr. Henry Morgentaler, the clinic is no longer sustainable financially. The closure of this clinic is a reminder that although abortion is legal in Canada, there are still significant disparities in timely access to abortion services. The closure of the clinic is part of a long history of women’s access to abortion services at the local level before and after the legalization of abortion in 1969 and the decriminalization of abortion in 1988. The lack of access at the local level has a major impact on obtaining an abortion in much wider contexts because women have tended to travel to other jurisdictions for pregnancy termination. Travel is one of the main barriers to access to abortion. Yet travel is often the only way women can access abortion services.

Via Activehistory.ca, article by Nancy Janovicek, Christabelle Sethna, Beth Palmer, and Katrina Ackerman