On Tuesday, word broke that Ottawa's mayor Jim Watson had signed a proclamation declaring today, May 12, as "Respect For Life Day." This was to honour the annual "March For Life" anti-choice/anti-abortion march that is taking place today.
Clinical abortion services are returning to Fredericton. Clinic 554 announced its opening on Jan. 16, 2015, as a family practice providing integrated abortion care services as well as specialized care for the LGBTIQ community. Clinic 554 is located at the former Morgentaler Clinic.
Freezing rain did not stop 60 people from rallying for abortion access and comprehensive reproductive health services outside the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly on Dec. 3 as it sat for the first time to hear the Gallant government's throne speech.
"We are disappointed to hear that the throne speech did not only not include abortion access, it did not mention health care even once," says Jessi Taylor with Reproductive Justice NB (RJNB), the group that organized the rally.
Accessing a publicly funded abortion in New Brunswick will no longer require two doctors certifying the procedure as "medically necessary" after January 1, 2015. Newly elected Liberal Premier Brian Gallant announced the removal of the restriction found in the Medical Services Payment Act on Nov. 26.
One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories
One Kind Word: Women Share Their Abortion Stories is exactly what the subtitle suggests: a selection of portraits and accounts of women who have had abortions in Canada, collected by photographer Kathryn Palmateer and editor Martha Solomon.
The title comes from Lori, the last woman of the collection, who says of her abortion, "The support I would have appreciated: one kind word from anyone."
Lori's wish is echoed through many of the experiences shared by many of the women in this collection who perceive a lack of kindness and respect extended to women who seek an abortion in Canada.
When Health Minister Doug Currie was found to have called off the Health PEI working group that would have established a regular abortion clinic at a PEI hospital, it became incontrivertibly clear that political interference is the only reason PEI remains the only province in Canada to not offer in-province access to safe, legal abortion.
Before the closure of the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic this summer, Ruth Lockhart of the Mabel Wadsworth Women's Health Center in Bangor, Maine, saw a client from New Brunswick every eight-to-ten weeks.
That number has jumped to five New Brunswick clients accessing her clinic's services every week.
"We do about 500 abortions a year. We see maybe ten to 15 [clients] a week, and … we had one to two [women from New Brunswick] in a six-month period," said Lockhart.
"And then in the last couple of weeks, it's changed from that to half our clients. We're talking a small number to start with, but still. Where we're doing ten procedures and five are from Maine and five are from New Brunswick, it's hard not to notice."