Three lines of text, in a government’s legislative regulation, limit access to abortion in the province of New Brunswick. This segment reads:
The following are deemed not 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;
For me, this needs to be removed from the legislative books of the province. In fact, it is 20-plus years late. When the Supreme Court of Canada rendered judgement in the case, R v Morgentaler 1988, the New Brunswick government should have made plans to update the regulations to reflect the law, without limiting access. Access is limited to 2 hospitals in the province, under the consent of 2 doctors.
Instead the New Brunswick government has fought the decision of the courts. Each successive Premier has allowed this to continue, even in the face of a lawsuit by Henry Morgentaler. Today, the politicians who have the means to repeal these words are trying to hide behind the fact that it is a matter before the courts, even as Dr. Morgentaler, the plaintiff, has died. The Premier and the Attorney General seem to want to duck the issue, avoiding it, hoping it will go away.
When the government cannot respect the judgement of the courts, it is hard to respect the one’s representing said government. When elected MLA’s are seen running away from the media to avoid speaking to the issue, it is hard to believe that the government is transparent and working to represent the people of New Brunswick. Normally, elected MLAs only run away from Charles LeBlanc. It was Charles who told me that he saw the Health Minister beelining it the other way, with the media chasing him for comments. You can see GlobalTV’s report on the political reaction here. It shows the minister going the other way, but not the dramatic chase scene I hoped to see.
The issue for the Clinic’s closing is the lack of funding. And it could remain open if the current Legislature, repealed the section of Regulation 84/20 listed above. Those who wish to take action can take a stand on April 17, with A Rally for Our Right to Accessible Abortion / Rassemblement pour notre droit à l’avortement accessible.