Open Letter from Dr. Henry Morgentaler: The stigma Surrounding Abortion Continues in New Brunswick

Wednesday, July 28 2010

TORONTO, July 28 /CNW/ - The New Brunswick government continues to deny women access to publicly funded abortions. Under the current Medical Services Payment Act, to have an abortion covered by Medicare, women are obliged to have the approval of two doctors in writing and the abortion must be performed in a hospital by a gynecologist. This leaves women with no family doctor or an anti-choice doctor no option other than the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton.

This discriminatory practice must stop.

Minister Green promised a seamless transition with no disruption in service when the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton stopped providing abortions at the end of June. Apparently two doctors have been identified who will provide abortions but then why is the Morgentaler Clinic still receiving calls from physicians who still don't know where to refer their patients.

In reality, the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton continues to provide the majority of abortions done in the province because women know they don't have to jump through hoops and lie to obtain what is a medically necessary procedure which should be covered by Medicare whether performed in a hospital or a clinic setting.

The only drawback for women coming to the clinic are the anti-choice forces who verbally assault them as they enter the clinic and try to intimidate them with visual propaganda. The recent display of gross and misrepresentative images of aborted fetuses by the Show the Truth group from Ontario is a case in point. In further efforts to intimidate abortion providers and women coming to the clinic, the anti-choice have taken to vandalizing the clinic.

The anti-choice movement has proven itself, time and time again, to be a hostile, manipulative movement that resorts to these appalling tactics to be heard. The Government of New Brunswick must address this issue; it is part of their mandate to protect the women of New Brunswick against this type of "fanaticism." The women of New Brunswick are entitled to medically safe abortions that are covered by Medicare. The Government has not only refused to cover abortions at the Morgentaler Clinic, it has not taken the appropriate action to advise the medical profession, nor New Brunswick women seeking abortion services, where this essential service will be available. It seems that the Government of New Brunswick condones this type of behavior by its "non-action".

The conservative Government of Stephen Harper has failed to pursue the mediation process initiated by the previous Federal Liberal Governmen tregarding coverage of services at the Morgentaler Clinic. It is clear that the
Federal Conservative Government is pursuing an anti-choice policy that is harming the women of New Brunswick. This government has shown its true colours as being an anti-choice government unwilling to help women, in defiance of the Supreme Court of Canada!

Henry Morgentaler M.D.

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