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.
N.B. provincial government publishes new abortion regulations – Global News
Right now, both hospitals that provide abortions in the province are managed by Vitalité Health Network: the Dr. Georges L Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton and the Bathurst Chaleur Regional Hospital.
Spokesperson Luc Foulem said there is no plan to add to that number but what has changed is the way people can access the abortion clinics.
“Her first point of contact can be directly with our family planning clinics instead of going through a process of going through a family physician,” he said.
Foulem said the whole process from initial contact to having the procedure takes between two and three weeks.
He said it is premature for Vitalité to look at expanding the availability of the procedure.
“We don’t know at this point in time what our colleagues at Horizon Health Network will be doing, so there are a few too many variables at this point for us to justify making some infrastructure changes,” he said.
Media Roundup: Abortion Access
Fragile victories for abortion access in the South – MSNBC
Anti-Abortion Leader Admits Clinic Restrictions Are Not About Safety – Huffington Post
Missouri Republicans fight to pass one of the most draconian abortion laws in the country – Salon
Ethiopia’s game-changing abortion law – IRIN Africa
A pregnant, suicidal rape victim fought Ireland’s new abortion law. The law won – The Guardian
The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion– The New York Times
Supreme Court to hear plea seeking extension of legal limit for abortion – India Today
France Dumps Abortion Restrictions, Will Cover the Cost of All First Trimester Abortions – Ms Magazine
Spanish women protest against new laws limiting the availability of abortions – The Independent
Green Party Leader David Coon talks Reproductive Justice
NB Abortion Debate Heating Up – Video
Includes quotes from Premier David Alward, Liberal leader Brian Gallant and NDP leader Dominic Cardy.
Via Sun News Network
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.”
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
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.
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)
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