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.
Peggy Cooke, a long time women's rights activist in New Brunswick has issued a call for action, "Now more than ever, New Brunswick progressives and their allies across Canada need to mobilize to force the government's hand. We should not have had to accept this situation for so long, and now that the clinic is closed, we will no longer do so. This is a matter of life or death for women across the Maritimes."
I couldn't agree more. We do need to act. We need to come together now and demand that the federal government uphold the Canada Health Act and enforce it across the the country. In its enforcement, it must be made clear that New Brunswick must remove the barriers that prevent women from being able to exercise their right to choose.
There should be no place in Canada where a woman's health is compromised because of a failure to provide access. New Brunswick maintains Regulation 84-20 which stipulates that access to abortion at the two hospitals will not be granted unless two doctors certify in writing that it is medically necessary. This directly opposes the R. v. Morgentaler decision in 1988. More over by imposing these restrictions it compromises women's health.
Women in Canada have the right to choose, wherever they live. This clinic served women in New Brunswick and PEI. Now these women no longer have access to health services that other Canadians have access to. It is time to address the gender inequality that exists when it comes to health care services available in Canada.
My colleague, the Critic for Health Libby Davies (Vancouver East), and I are calling on the federal government to act in the wake of the closure of New Brunswick's Morgentaler Clinic – the only medical venue that provided uncompromised access to abortion. Follow this link to see a copy of the open letter Libby Davies, MP and I wrote to the Minister of Health calling for action.
Take Action Now!
Download this sample letter from Gender-Focus and use it to contact the Federal Minister for Health, the Federal Minister for Status of Women, the Premier of New Brunswick, and your local MP.
MP Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health)
MP Kellie Leitch (Minister for the Status of Woman)
Premier of New Brunswick:
Reception : (506) 453-2144
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the New Brunswick Pro-Choice Facebook Group
Sign the Change.Org Petition to fund services at the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, N.B.
Get in touch with the New Brunswick NDP to find out what this pro-choice party are doing to change the regulation: 1-844-NDP-NPD1 or email email@example.com
Niki Ashton is Member of Parliament for Churchill - Manitoba and NDP Status of Women Critic.
Photo: flickr/postbear eater of worlds