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Fredericton chapter rallies for Morgentaler clinic

Photo: The Fredericton chapter at today's rally.

Photo: The Fredericton chapter at today’s rally.

The Council of Canadians Fredericton chapter was an emergency rally this afternoon in response to the announcement last week by the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton that said it will close this July because of New Brunswick’s continued refusal to fund abortion care at the clinic. The clinic has been forced to charge patients directly for medically required services in contravention of the Canada Health Act because of the provincial government’s refusal to fund these services.

CBC reports, “A crowd of approximately 400 pro-choice activists are protesting outside the legislative assembly today, demanding the provincial government properly fund abortion services.”

The Canadian Press reports, “Simone Leibovitch said the clinic, which has been in operation for 20 years, has been providing abortions even though it has lost about $100,000 over the last decade. ‘The reality is we can’t continue to stay open and provide abortions that are not publicly funded.'” An Abortion Rights of Canada Coalition media statement explains, “The government enforces an illegitimate regulation requiring women to obtain approval from two doctors before they can get a funded abortion at a hospital. This regulation replicates the same type of harmful restrictions that led the Supreme Court to strike down Canada’s abortion law in the 1988 Morgentaler decision.”

“(Regulation 84-20) was introduced in 1984 and has been a source of controversy over the years. Pro-choice groups say it restricts a woman’s right to seek an abortion in the province, and in 2005, the former federal Liberal government put pressure on New Brunswick to fund private abortion clinics, but it was rebuffed. In 2002, Dr. Henry Morgentaler launched a lawsuit in a bid to force the provincial government to pay for the procedure at clinics. The case has been in limbo since Morgentaler died last May.”

A petition calling on the New Brunswick government to fund services at the Morgentaler clinic can be found here.