On October 15, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) announced in a formal letter that they would be taking New Brunswick to court over the province’s restrictions to abortion access if the province did not improve.
This comes following the lack of response to regulation 84-20, which prohibits Medicare funding for out of hospital abortions, and the closing of Clinic 554, which was the only out of hospital surgical abortion provider in Fredericton. Last month, Fredericton saw multiple protests and a sit-in at the Legislative building as the public rallied together to fight the closing of Clinic 554.
Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a non-profit organization with supporters all over Canada, dedicated to defending human rights for all people in Canada. Michael Bryant, Executive Director of the CCLA, anticipates a court date if New Brunswick continues to deny abortion access.
“We expect that this will head to court, in order to ensure fair access to safe and legal abortions in New Brunswick,” said Bryant in a recent media release.
Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Director of the Equality Program with the CCLA, addressed Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick, and Dorothy Shepard, Minister of Health, in the formal demand letter. This letter, released on October 14, communicated the concerns of the CCLA, while demanding that the province remove their abortion restrictions and work to create better abortion access.
“[We] seek (a) the repeal of discriminatory laws that deny women, girls, and trans people fair access to abortion; and further that (b) your government take urgent measures to ensure that surgical and medical abortions are accessible throughout New Brunswick,” stated the letter.
Premier Higgs has not released a formal response to this letter, but has previously stated that anyone who feels that the province is not adhering to the Canada Health Act has the right to pursue legal actions.
“That’s the advantage of living in Canada. If someone feels that we are not following the rules, the Canada Health Act in this case, then they have every right to bring it to a legal matter, make it a legal matter and challenge it,” said Higgs, as told to Global News in August 2020.