Dear Premier David Alward and Opposition Leader Brian Gallant:
I’m sorry that it has come to this to get your attention. We did hope that you would consider one of our many requests for a meeting. We know you are busy with the election and all, and we know the subject of reproductive rights is one you probably wish would go away, but that’s not going to happen.
If you’ve been following the news, and I’m sure you have, you know that the closing of the Morgentaler Clinic at the end of July puts the lives of many New Brunswickers in jeopardy. When abortion services are not readily available, women faced with a desperate situation will look for alternatives. The internet is full of unsavory suggestions and, trust me, you don’t want to go there.
The solution to all these concerns is simple. Whichever one of you takes over the provincial helm in September can quickly make things right. It won’t be necessary to waste your time reviewing the situation as suggested by Mr. Gallant. All you have to do is repeal Section 84/20 of the Medical Services Payment Act initiated some years ago when the Liberals were in power. I’m sure you are familiar with this section of the Act, it’s the one that says a woman can only have a publicly-funded abortion if it is deemed “medically necessary” by two doctors and performed in a hospital setting by a specialist. A quick stroke of the pen and this discriminatory, harmful to women, regulation can be gone.
Here’s another helpful suggestion. We know you are concerned about the budget and saving the taxpayers money – heck, we are all for that –but by insisting that abortions be performed in a hospital setting actually costs the tax payers twice as much as it would to cover them in a regular medical clinic such as the Morgentaler Clinic. I know Dr. Morgentaler spent over half a million dollars in court costs trying to get you to follow along with the rest of Canada and cover abortions done at the clinic. It must also have cost you a bundle of tax payer`s dollars to prevent him from winning. I have to hand it to you, you are masters at blocking actions that would improve women`s rights in this province.
Surely, it is time to put all that behind us. Act now and the cloud of shame that hangs over New Brunswick will disappear. New Brunswick will no longer be the province that ignores the reproductive health needs of its citizens.
We would still love to meet with you. We want to help. We want to work with you. You can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We respond to all requests for information.
Judy Burwell is an organizer with Reproductive Justice NB.