Reproductive Justice New Brunswick’s efforts to lease the existing Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton continue as the organization is in negotiations with the owner of the former clinic to secure an agreement. Now RJNB is asking for your generous support to buy the equipment located at the clinic that is necessary to provide a full range of reproductive health services for phase two of it’s goals. This Fundrazr campaign is a public initiative in response to the current provincial government’s refusal to take action on the barriers to abortion access in New Brunswick. There are only three days left to help RJNB reach their 200k goal. Please donate what you can here.

Women’s rights advocate Wendy Robbins spoke about the importance of the Morgentaler clinic as an alternative option in a heavily restricted health care system:

“We have all this red tape and bureaucracy and require it to be done in a hospital by a specialist, and so we’re paying between $1700-$2000 for every abortion in a hospital. In a clinic, it’s less than half that.”

The New Brunswick Medical Society has also addressed issues they have with regulation 84-20 that prevents women from accessing safe, legal abortions unless two doctors declare in writing that the abortion is medically necessary. 84-20 is part of New Brunswick’s Medical Services Payment act which includes the following under procedures which “are not deemed to be entitled services:”

(a.1) abortion, unless the abortion is performed by a specialist in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology in a hospital facility approved by the jurisdiction in which the hospital facility is located and two medical practitioners certify in writing that the abortion was medically required .

Many have commented that the wording in the regulation is much too vague. For instance, how can we define what is “medically necessary?” If a woman’s physical health is not in danger, does that mean an abortion isn’t necessary? Terms like this oversimplify women’s lives and ignore the complex emotional, social, and financial factors that can affect a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.

The Morgentaler clinic was the only facility in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island where women could access abortions based on self-referral. The clinic performed about 60 percent of abortions in the province every year.

Kathleen Pye of RJNB is concerned about how hospitals – there are only two in New Brunswick that will do the procedure – will accommodate the women who have gone to the Morgentaler clinic. Currently, 60,000 New Brunswickers do not have family doctors and women may have to make the rounds to several walk-in-clinics to try and find a doctor that can help them.

In this climate, women’s voices are incredibly important. Prior to the #SavetheClinic rally, The New Brunswick Media Co-op published a woman’s abortion experience. Below we’ve included an excerpt from her story:

“It was really a nightmare, waiting for almost nine weeks for a procedure at the hospital, and having a fetus growing inside of me that I did not want. Looking back now, I would have went to the Morgentaler Clinic if I had the funds. I really felt like I was failed by our ‘healthcare’ system.”

The woman who chose to remain anonymous details the mistrust and judgement she faced at every stage in her abortion experience. We need to do everything we can to allow women to exercise reproductive freedom. Which is why this woman’s story, and those documented in One Kind Word, are so crucial in the fight for accessible and affordable reproductive health care. One Kind Word engages directly with women across Canada through portraits and personal stories to remind us that speaking up is essential in effecting change for women across the world.