The end of abortion care in Fredericton NB will hurt the most vulnerable

For immediate release

Forced closure of Clinic 554 caused by callous anti-choice government

After almost ten years of struggle against a provincial government that illegally withheld funding, Clinic 554 in Fredericton has been forced to close for good. Abortion services have now permanently ended, after having been reduced to one day a week for the last few years. This will leave many vulnerable NB residents without access to care.

“When Clinic 554 first opened in 2015, there was so much hope and excitement. But the government’s callous indifference over the years has been infuriating,” said Joyce Arthur, Executive Director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “The clinic would never turn a patient away, so without funding from the province, it led to financial unsustainability. The whole ordeal was very draining for Dr. Adrian Edgar and his staff.”

Abortion is deemed a medically required service across Canada, which means it must be funded by provincial governments wherever it is provided, including private clinics and doctor’s offices. New Brunswick was the only province in Canada that enforced a regulation limiting funded (surgical) abortions to hospitals. Arthur said this regulation is illegal under the Canada Health Act, as well an infringement of bodily autonomy and gender equality under the Charter.

“The loss of abortion services in Fredericton is a major blow to residents in the province, as many will not be able to easily access abortion care elsewhere, and perhaps not at all for the most vulnerable patients,” said Arthur.

As Dr. Adrian Edgar explained to the press: “We are most concerned about patients for whom travel or a medication abortion is not an option due to financial reasons, mental health or addictions reasons, disability, age, financial or housing precarity, legal status or freedom of movement and personal security.”

Arthur said: “The Abortion Rights Coalition has strongly supported Clinic 554 since the beginning, and before that the Morgentaler Clinic, which used to be in the same building. That clinic had to close for the same reason – because of a callous anti-choice government that forced patients to pay out of pocket for their own necessary healthcare.”

“I want to thank Dr. Edgar and his partner Valerya Edelman for their dedication and strength, and their deep compassion for their patients,” said Arthur. “Their tireless work over the years keeping Clinic 554 afloat has been nothing short of heroic.”

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