Earlier this month Clinic 554 announced its impending closure, scheduled for the end of this year.
Clinic 554 is New Brunswick’s sole private abortion clinic, and also caters to transgender and LGBTQ needs.
Staff of the clinic are saying it can no longer afford to operate due to a lack of provincial funding, informing its closure.
The cut in provincial funding is due to the fact that the province is refusing to pay for abortions performed outside hospitals.
That means that New Brunswick will soon be the only province in Canada that will not cover the cost of abortions outside of a hospital.
Medicare funding in the province only offers funding for abortions at three hospitals—two in Moncton and one in Bathurst.
This means that women who do not live within travel distance of one of those hospitals, or who have passed the gestational limit of 13 weeks and six days for a hospital-performed abortion, must pay up to $800 out of pocket for the procedure.
According to Dr. Adrian Edgar, the clinic’s medical director, many of his patients cannot afford to pay for abortions out of pocket, and as a result the clinic is being put up for sale.
Mary Thompson, a Frederictonion in her late twenties, is disappointed in the provincial government’s decision.
“It is very sad to see that New Brunswick is now being denied what every other province is granted,” said Thompson.
“It is frustrating that women in New Brunswick are being denied what I believe is every woman’s right.”
This province has now become a federal election discussion point, with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau speak to the topic, both pledging their support for the clinic.
On October 11th, Green Party leader Elizabeth May attended a rally in Fredericton in support of Clinic 554.
“The clinic must stay open. Protecting women’s rights is everybody’s issue,” said May.
Rachelle Roy, a student at St. Thomas University says she hopes the new MP will put re-opening the clinic at the top of her list.
“This clinic has helped so many women and families when they needed it the most,” she said.
A petition is being shared online lobbying to keep Clinic 554 open. Over 43 thousand people have signed.