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.
After 20 years of providing uncompromised abortion services to women in New Brunswick, and from PEI, the Morgentaler Clinic is being forced to close its doors due to funding shortfalls.
It is shameful that Canada now has two provinces that refuse to uphold a woman's right to choose, and provide necessary medical procedures free of cost to women. The federal government must enforce the Canada Health Act to ensure that all Canadian women have equivalent access to abortion services across Canada.
The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick has announced it will close its doors in July, striking a huge blow to reproductive choice in Canada.
The clinic opened in June 1994 with the mandate to provide access to safe abortion care and "that no woman would be turned away regardless of [their] ability to pay." Since its opening, the clinic has provided abortion services to more than 10,000 women.
The closure is due to a lack of funding because New Brunswick governments have continued to uphold the anti-choice agenda of former Premier Frank McKenna and block access to abortion. The main obstacle is Regulation 84-20, Schedule 2(a.1), which decides which abortions will be covered by medicare.
Two pro-choice organizations in Nova Scotia recently ran a successful grassroots campaign to counteract anti-choice advertising on buses in Halifax, raising enough money to produce their own ads for the sexual and reproductive health services that they offer in their clinics. A petition is also calling to remove the anti-choice ads. Their campaign was driven by seeing an uptick in ads presenting misinformation and false claims about the risk of abortion on local transit.
As Canadians, we’re proud of our reputation for tolerance and fairness. Even with a socially and fiscally conservative government, we still maintain that we are the sane alternative to the extreme Tea Party doctrine so prevalent south of the border. Unfortunately, this national sense of self is more illusion than reality.