The announcement that the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton is closing in July after two decades of operation has sparked nation-wide actions in support of reproductive rights and in solidarity with New Brunswick and PEI women who accessed abortions at the Fredericton clinic. Some 600 women from mostly New Brunswick and PEI access abortions in the Fredericton clinic every year.
Sorcha Beirne with Fredericton Youth Feminists delivered a message of solidarity to over 100 at a pro-choice rally in Charlottetown on May 8th. Beirne accused the government of ignoring the issue of accessible abortion services in PEI. Health Minister Doug Currie met with a vocal opposition when he declared that the government’s policy of only covering abortions in Halifax will stand. All speakers called for an immediate change to this policy and to stop forcing women to travel off the island for abortion services.
A rally for accessible abortions and marking the anniversary of the legalizing of abortions in Montreal was held on May 24 in Montreal. Native New Brunswicker and an organizer with the Centre des femmes solidaires et engagées Janelle LeBlanc spoke of the crisis in New Brunswick with the impending closure of the clinic. About 100 gathered to mark the anniversary and rally for choice. A reproductive justice choir sang songs in the park. A previous rally in Montreal was held on April 26 in Place Emile Gamelin.
Demonstrations have also occurred at Parliament Hill, Toronto, Halifax and St. John’s.
Reproductive Justice NB has formed in response to the crisis but also to organize for a future of reproductive justice in the province of New Brunswick. Their next steps included organizing a phone line that women can call to find out how to access abortions and reproductive health services.
Judy Burwell and Tracy Glynn are members of the NB Media Co-op.