Includes quotes from Premier David Alward, Liberal leader Brian Gallant and NDP leader Dominic Cardy.
Via Sun News Network
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.
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.”
“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
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.
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.
Privileging Infertility over Abortion in New Brunswick – Impact Ethics blog
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)
Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution International Conference takes place Aug. 7 and 8 at the University of Prince Edward Island.
“It’s hard to study abortion without being an activist” – Article on the Conference from Activehistory.ca
Despite being legal, abortions still not accessible for all Canadians – The Globe and Mail
Abortion conference coming to UPEI – The Guardian