Until January 1, 2015, New Brunswick had been enforcing a restrictive abortion regulation for over 20 years, even though it was unconstitutional and created hardship for women and trans* people. The regulation required a patient to obtain written approval from two doctors who had to certify that the abortion was “medically necessary” before being allowed a funded abortion at a hospital.
It took the shocking closure of the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, the province’s only abortion clinic, to finally spark change. Between the clinic’s April announcement and its July closure, a vibrant new reproductive rights movement sprung to life in New Brunswick. Its young activists campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness, and lobbied the government to repeal the regulation.
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.
Rally to #SavetheClinic today, July 18th! If you are in Fredericton, your presence at the rally will help demonstrate how important the clinic is to New Brunswickers.
If you are unable to attend the rally, you can still show your support! Tweet using the #SavetheClinic and #NBProchoice hashtags and let Premier David Alward (@PremierNB) know what you think about his inaction. Demand the repeal of regulation 84-20. Tell the government of NB that we shouldn’t be doing their job for them! Take a photo of yourself holding a message of solidarity! Tweet your photos and submit them to the tumblr. If you are able, make a donation to the #SavetheClinic fund.
The rally takes place from noon to 2pm Atlantic time. If you’d like to concentrate your tweets/statuses/photos to coincide with the rally, remember to adjust for time differences!
THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT
The annual New Brunswick March For Life anti-choice rally took place on May 15th of this year, starting at the Legislative Building and continuing on down to the Women’s Care Centre which neighbours the closing Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton (see CBC article here).
So far we have counted and named twenty three New Brunswick MLAs in attendance at this rally, an alarming number to be sure, but let’s allow this to help us fuel our fight. We know what we’re up against, because they showed up in public to support the status quo.
We have been writing, emailing and calling our representatives with little to no response. Twitter is a public avenue for these MLAs to connect with their citizens. Let’s see if they continue to ignore us.
We have created a schedule that starts on Tuesday May 20th and continues each workday until we’ve run out of MLAs with active twitter accounts who were in attendance.
For a schedule with active links, use this:
Don’t forget to add the premier @PremierNB to your tweet each day as well.
In order to ensure the maximum number of people see your tweets, make sure you have at least one character before directly addressing someone on twitter. You can phrase your tweet so their handle is inside your statement:
“Hey @billfrasermla, I can make my own medical decisions! #NBProchoice”.
Or you can add a period before their handle: “.@jodycarr_mla thinks his opinion should shape the course of my life #NBProchoice”
Just keep in mind that Tweets addressed to someone (“@whoever followed by your statement”) get put in your “replies” and don’t get as many views!
Let’s write messages, re-tweet each other, and keep it focused on law/politics. Every person deserves full, uncompromising autonomy over their own body. Regulation 84-20 endangers lives and infringes on our human rights.
While we want to publicly address this on twitter we think it is also important to name every MLA in attendance, and so we have done so by listing their email addresses here:
Those without Twitter:
Those on the Twitter list:
And here is the entire list in an easy to mass email form:
Bruce.Northrup@gnb.ca, Brian.Kenny@gnb.ca, Sherry.Wilson@gnb.ca, Bertrand.LeBlanc@gnb.ca,Martine.Coulombe@gnb.ca, Danny.Soucy@gnb.ca, Carl.Urquhart@gnb.ca, Ross.Wetmore@gnb.ca,Wes.McLean@gnb.ca, Robert.Trevors@gnb.ca, Curtis.Malloch@gnb.ca, Serge.j.Robichaud@gnb.ca,Yvon.Bonenfant@gnb.ca, Mike.Olscamp@gnb.ca, Bill.Fraser@gnb.ca, Jody.Carr@gnb.ca, Troy.Lifford@gnb.ca, Bruce.Fitch@gnb.ca,Pam.Lynch@gnb.ca, Jake.Stewart@gnb.ca, Jack.Carr@gnb.c, Carl.Killen@gnb.ca,Ryan.Riordon@gnb.ca
For a detailed history of this important issue, check out this piece by Professor Jula Hughes (UNB law), or this article by Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada.
A national media outlet has approached Simone, the Director of the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic, with a request for women to share their experiences accessing abortion services at the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic. They have assured her that anyone doing so would remain anonymous, and only their stories and an anonymized picture would be used for an upcoming story.
Simone and Kathleen, a member of ChoixNBChoice, are asking that anyone interested to contact them for a brief discussion before committing to be interviewed. This is obviously a sensitive subject, and we want to ensure that anyone volunteering has all the information about the process and is prepared for any questions that might arise.
If interested, please email Simone at (506) 451-9060 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathleen at Kathleen.email@example.com.
Rallies being held in solidarity with New Brunswick this week:
Fredericton, NB – Thursday, April 17 at 12:30pm
Legislative building, 706 Queen St.
Toronto, ON – Thursday, April 17 at 5:30pm
St. John’s, NFLD – Friday, April 18 at 9:00am
Health Sciences Centre
Halifax, NS – Saturday, April 19 at 1:00pm
Ottawa, ON – Saturday, April 26 at 2:00pm
Montreal, QC – Saturday, April 26 at 2:00pm
Place Émilie-Gamelin (Berri Square)
Charlottetown, PEI – Thursday, May 8 at 1:00pm
Any others? Share in comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a living, growing list – please continue to check back, and add ideas in comments!
– Donate to the #NBProChoice organizing efforts through ARCC – or mail a cheque to:
Reproductive Justice NB
PO Box 761, Station A
– Call and email New Brunswick Premier David Alward: 506-453-2144; email@example.com
– Call and email New Brunswick Health Minister Hugh Flemming: 506-457-4800, Hugh.Flemming@gnb.ca
– Sign the petition demanding New Brunswick publicly fund abortion
– Organize a rally in your city
– Write a letter to the editor of your local (or national) newspaper in support of access to abortion in New Brunswick
– Tweet your solidarity with the hashtag #NBProChoice
– Submit a picture of yourself holding a sign of solidarity to the tumblr
– Share your abortion story
– Tell everyone you know about this issue!
If you have more ideas, share them in comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org