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Vol. 78/No. 18      May 12, 2014

Rally opposes closing of
New Brunswick abortion clinic
MONTREAL — Hundreds of supporters of a woman’s right to choose abortion marched on the New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton April 17, demanding the province fund abortions in private clinics. The action took place one week after Morgentaler abortion clinic manager Simone Leibovitch announced the clinic was closing at the end of July after a 20-year battle for government funding.

“The New Brunswick government needs to fund our clinic in the same way that nonprofit clinics are funded across the country,” Leibovitch said by phone April 23. “Women need access to reproductive health care, not just abortions.”

New Brunswick is the only Canadian province that doesn’t fund abortions in private clinics.

When the Morgentaler clinic closes, women on Prince Edward Island seeking abortions will have to go to Halifax. “It is not acceptable for this to be the only way to access a simple medical procedure that could be offered in Island hospitals,” Colleen MacQuarrie, spokesperson for the Prince Edward Island Abortion Rights Network said in an April 17 news release.

Protesters also demanded that the provincial government repeal Regulation 84-20, which requires abortions to be performed by specialists at approved hospitals and only after a woman gets approval from two doctors.

Sorcha Bierne, coordinator of the Fredericton Youth Feminists, said the regulation tramples on women’s rights. “We need to start following federal law, including the Canada Health Act,” she told the Militant. In 1988 Canada’s Supreme Court struck down the country’s anti-abortion law, ruling that it denied women the right of “life, liberty and security of the person.”

“It’s great that so many people have come out to protest, but we need to keep it out there and not let the issue get buried,” said Bierne.  
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