Clinic 554 is the only clinic in New Brunswick providing abortion services and LGBTQ health care. It also houses a family doctor for 3,000 Fredericton patients.
The forced shutdown of this clinic was announced on Oct. 10, as a result of a cut in provincial funding.
The crowd waved pride flags, raised signs calling for change and chanted “We’re here, we’re queer, we want equal healthcare,” “they say get back, we say fight back,” and “1234 save clinic 554, 5678 no more healthcare hate.”
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, as well as Fredericton Green candidate Jenica Atwin, were in attendance. May spoke of the importance of maintaining universal healthcare, including that of vulnerable communities.
“Protecting women’s rights is everybody’s issue,” said May.
A representative for David Coon, New Brunswick Green Party leader and Fredericton MLA called for continued pressure on the government.
No other candidate or party was able to attend.
The event included a presentation by Dr. Adrian Edgar, the Medical Director of the clinic.
The rally also included speeches by a number of UNB professors, including Karen Pearlston, Lucas Crawford and Triny Finlay. Students involved with the 203 Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity also spoke.
“The government’s argument is that it’s a private clinic. We need to stop calling it that. Every service but abortion there is funded by Medicare. People with uteruses are being forced into private,” said Pearlston.
Jack Sparks contributed reporting.