Clinic 554 wants Premier Gallant to act on abortion access during the flood

Written by Valerie Edelman, Clinic 554 Manager on May 8, 2018

Clinic 554 suffered damages from flooding in early May in Fredericton. They want the New Brunswick government to ensure abortion access while their clinic is closed. Photo from Clinic 554.

The following letter was sent to Premier Brian Gallant from Clinic 554 Manager, Valerie Edelman on May 6, 2018. 

Dear Premier Brian Gallant,

I am the manager of Clinic 554,the only facility that provides abortions in the Capital Region. We are also the only LGBTQ clinic in the province, the only clinic that accepts self-referrals for transgender health care, and the only clinic that provides emergency copper IUD insertions. As well, we provide harm reduction methadone maintenance, a small needle exchange, and primary care for patients with HIV and Hepatitis C. Our large rainbow fence is a symbol of pride and a sign of welcome. We have provided care to over 2100 patients since we opened in 2015. The residents of New Brunswick tell us how much they need us, and how we are a reason they can remain in our province.

We are in crisis. On Tuesday May 1st, our sump pump could not keep up and we flooded. We acted immediately and hired Servpro to get us dry as quickly as possible. I called patients who were booked for abortions to provide them other options, and our director, Dr. Adrian Edgar, tried to find those options. Horizon’s hospital policies (and individuals) are creating unnecessary barriers, but also the current provincial restrictions that limit abortions to hospitals are creating unnecessary barriers.
We were able to find provisions for some patients, but not all. I was the one talking to patients, trying to explain, but having no answers. It was truly heart breaking.

We reached out to you on CBC Radio One, and I did not hear you acknowledge what Dr. Edgar said about the crisis of abortion access now, and the need of your help. Instead you talked about what the Liberals are doing for women’s health. With all due respect, it sounded like you pivoted from our crisis to an opportunity to promote your political party. I was shocked.

Only one phone number you provided on the radio would offer any help for a women who needed an abortion,only in Moncton.  I can speak to the fact that some of our patients are still left without an option and are scared. Without their permission I can’t provide details of their circumstances. I can say that stigma and gender inequality are part of the context.  They are too scared to reach out themselves to tell you they are in trouble and need help. Your government can do something, very easy, and will cost the province nothing. Please take the time and review access to abortion services again. Please believe us. I can tell you about patient experiences, and Dr. Edgar is the best person to contact for information about what we need from you and why. Dr. Edgar can be contacted by email: Adrian.edgar@medportal.ca.

Sincerely,

Valerie Edelman, BSW
Cell: 506-261-7355

Clinic Manager
Clinic 554
554 Brunswick Street,
Fredericton NB E3B 1H5
Tel: 1-855-978-5434
Fax: 1-855-978-5435

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