Hoping to stop the closing of the only private abortion clinic in the Maritimes, Fredericton-based Morgentaler Clinic launched a crowdfunding campaign on FundRazr to raise $100,000. Within a week and a half, the project has surpassed half of its goal.
According to The Star, the Morgentaler Clinic announced in April it would be closing its doors July 18th after 20 years in business. More than 10,000 women have accessed the clinic since the controversial Canadian physician and pro-choice advocate Henry Morgentaler brought his initiative to the province in 1984
Reproductive Justice NB has begun an effort to lease the existing Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton. The collective is in discussion with the building’s owners to enter into a lease agreement and further explore options to encourage family practitioners who support a person’s right to full reproductive services, including the right to abortion. The estimate cost of the lease agreement is $100,000.
Reproductive Justice NB member, Kathleen Pye, noted saving the building is a Band-Aid solution allowing women safe access to the procedure. The larger battle is getting the New Brunswick government to repeal regulations under the province’s NB Regulation 84-20, Schedule 2 (a.1) of the Medical Services Payment Act which requires two doctors to sign off that the procedure is “medically required” and that it must be performed in a hospital by an OBGYN. As a result, the people of New Brunswick have unequal access to abortion services as compared to the rest of Canada.
Pye said, “We started lobbying efforts; we tried to have conversations with the New Brunswick government and with the opposite leaders of the Liberals. We realize they’re just not interested, at all. We weren’t getting any calls back.
The province’s Department of Health spokesperson revealed in an email access to abortion would still be available in New Brunswick even if the clinic closes. “Women will continue to have access to medically necessary abortions in the province with the approval of two physicians.”
The clinic provides abortion services once a week. Its building only has one doctor and one operating room. The procedure itself costs anywhere between $700 and $850, depending on gestation. No woman is ever turned away regardless of her ability to pay. Within the past 10 years, the clinic paid for more than $105,000 subsidize abortions for women struggling with the bills.
The Morgentaler Clinic noted on the campaign website, “Every donation, however large or small, is one step closer to ensuring reproductive choice in New Brunswick. Unless this oppressive regulation is overturned, New Brunswickers will not have equal access to abortion services. If Reproductive Justice NB is unable to raise the full $100,000, all money raised will go towards renewed efforts to overturn the Medical Services Payment Act.”
Set to end on July 31st, the campaign has reached $73,120 from 804 backers.
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