Women To Be Denied Funded Abortions in New Brunswick

Wednesday, July 28 2010

The one remaining hospital in New Brunswick providing abortion services will no longer provide this medical service after June 30th, 2006. Once the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton stops performing abortions, women in New Brunswick will no longer have access to funded abortions.

To deny women access to safe and timely abortions is a serious violation of the Canada Health Act. Not only is it discriminatory, but it increases the medical risk for teenagers, victims of rape or incest, and to women with a limited income or who live in rural areas.

Denying access to abortion services harms not only women and their families but society at large. Unwanted pregnancies can lead to increased poverty for women and children. Teenage mothers are especially vulnerable.

For many women, teenagers in particular, it will be impossible to arrange for travel, child care, or time away from work or school. Paying $500 to $750 for abortion services at the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton will be beyond their means. Many will join the 50% of single mothers and their children now living in poverty in Canada.

Women living in abusive relationships may remain trapped with the added responsibility of an unwanted child. It is often when they are pregnant that their partner's violent behaviour increases.

Abortion Services are a critical component of public health programs. Determining when she is physically, emotionally, and financially ready to raise a child is a critical part of every woman's total health care.

"The provincial government has consistently maintained that access is not a problem because hospital access is adequate. Obviously this is no longer the case," said Judy Burwell of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. Burwell noted that even though access was limited, by covering abortions performed in hospitals, the government has acknowledged the rights of women to abortion services and the legitimacy of the procedure. "The government must take immediate action to ensure that hospital abortion services are reinstated and available throughout the province," said Burwell.

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