Take Action for New Brunswick Women!
On April 10, the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton announced it would have to close its doors in July for financial reasons. This is a devastating blow for New Brunswick women, many of whom will no longer be able to access abortion services unless for those with the means to travel outside the province and pay for the procedure themselves – at a total cost of at least $1000, beyond the reach of too many women.
The government of New Brunswick is 100% to blame for the clinic’s closure. It enforces an unconstitutional and illegal payment regulation that compels women to pay out of pocket for abortions at the clinic.
For more information on why the clinic must close, please check these links:
- Morgentaler Clinic statement, April 10 (en français)
- ARCC press release, April 11 (en français)
- CBC news statement, April 10
The Closure of the Morgentaler Clinic and the Rule of Law in New Brunswick, by Prof. Jula Hughes (UNB law). A brilliant analysis explaining why the Province of NB is acting unethically and illegally. Includes a history of the dispute.
1. Call or write to the New Brunswick Health Minister and Premier to urge them to repeal the payment regulation, and establish a publicly-funded women’s health clinic in New Brunswick that offers comprehensive reproductive healthcare services:
- Health Minister Hugh Flemming: 506-457-4800, Hugh.Flemming@gnb.ca
- Premier David Alward: 506-453-2144; email@example.com
2. Write a letter to your Member of Parliament (find their contact info here) and to Health Minister Rona Ambrose, urging the Federal Government to withhold payments for healthcare to New Brunswick until they agree to fund abortions performed at the Morgentaler Clinic, and repeal the regulation.
- You can use this sample letter drafted by a local activist and former clinic volunteer (thanks to Gender Focus for making this available online).
- If you have time, it’s better to rephrase the letter in your own words so your MP knows you care personally about this issue enough to take the time to write.
3. Sign this petition asking the New Brunswick government to repeal the payment regulation and fund the clinic (this is part of a campaign by several St. Thomas University students). Even with the clinic closure, the regulation MUST be repealed to facilitate and expand access at hospitals, which is woefully inadequate because the regulation also hinders and limits access at hospitals.
4. Attend upcoming events:
- Charlottetown: A Rally for Our Right to Accessible Abortion – Prince Edward Island. **Note date change**: Thursday, May 8, Province House, Charlottetown.
- The main rally in Fredericton on April 17, 12:30pm, Legislative Building, 706 Queen St. Hosted by Fredericton Youth Feminists.
- Toronto: Attend the Emergency Solidarity Rally in Toronto on Thursday April 17, at 5:30, Southeast corner of Yonge and Dundas. Hosted by Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics.
- St. John’s NL: Celebration of Choice. Friday, April 18, 9:15-10:30am. West parking lot of the Health Sciences Centre.
- Halifax: Solidarity gathering for our right to accessible abortion, Saturday April 19, 1pm, Victoria Park.
- Ottawaa: Ottawa Solidarity Rally : New Brunswick Pro Choice / Rassemblement en solidarité avec Pro Choix Nouveau-Brunswick à Ottawa. Saturday, April 26, 2pm, Parliament Hill.
- Montreal: #ProchoixNB / #NBProChoice : MTL EN SOLIDARITÉ. Saturday April 26, 2pm, Place Émilie-Gamelin.
- Or, organize your own local or online event and let us know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add it here.
5. Tweet a message of support using the #NBProChoice hashtag.
6. Join the following Facebook groups:
7. Submit a picture of yourself to this blog with a message of solidarity.
News and Articles
Here’s a selection of some of the best or most important articles on the topic:
- New Brunswick Abortion Lawsuit Being Dropped, Canadian Press, April 16. The family of Dr. Morgentaler is discontinuing the old lawsuit began by him in 2002, which has been dormant since 2009.
- Open Letter to the Minister of Health (Rona Ambrose), from Libby Davies, MP – NDP Deputy Leader and Health Critic; and Niki Ashton, MP – NDP Critic for the Status of Women. (April 11, in English and français.)
- Fredericton’s Morgentaler Clinic Is Closing, And Here’s Why You Should Care – a blog by The Belle Jar (April 10), who warns that “Women are going to die…”
- PEI Status of Women Council Dismayed by Closure of Fredericton Clinic –
- press release (April 10), warning of the huge negative impact the clinic closure will have on PEI women as well.
- New Brunswick’s Anti-Abortion Law is an “Embarrassment” to Canada (Jan 31, 2005 press release from Pro-Choice Action Network), with background on the NB regulation and why it is unconstitutional and illegal.
Please help the campaign to improve abortion access in New Brunswick!
Any donation, large or small, would be gratefully accepted and used to directly support grassroots efforts in New Brunswick (coordinated by the group Reproductive Justice New Brunswick). About 20% of the money would go towards national efforts by ARCC, e.g., raising public awareness nationally, lobbying federal MPs, events outside NB, etc.
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Below are examples of what the money would be used for, but first a few notes about our goals:
- The Morgentaler clinic will definitely close at the end of July. This is a firm decision by the owner and manager for financial reasons. Our focus must shift to ensuring access for women after the clinic closes.
- The province needs to open a comprehensive women’s reproductive healthcare centre that will also do abortions and will be publicly funded.
- Two regulations in the Medical Services Payment Act must be repealed because they both violate the Canada Health Act and severely limit access. One requires women to get approval from two doctors who certify that the abortion is “medically required.” The other prohibits funding of any private clinic, regardless if it does medically necessary procedures.
Example list of needs:
- Publicity, media, communications: Printing and photocopying, translation, web hosting, phone and postage costs, media relations, sending press releases, etc.
- Lobbying / campaign building: Costs associated with contacting and meeting with government officials, medical groups and doctors, healthcare institutions, labour unions, and other policy-makers and stakeholder groups.
- Event costs: Venue costs, sound system rental, speaker honorariums, transportation, equipment costs, refreshments, sign-making supplies, etc.
Thank you so much for your valuable support!