Drag Justice for 554
Cover by donation in support of Clinic 554
Thousands of New Brunswickers face losing access to healthcare as a beloved community clinic faces closure.
Almost 3000 patients in New Brunswick are at risk of losing access to primary, specialist, and reproductive healthcare as Clinic 554, an important community health clinic, faces closure.
THIS IS NOT OK.
What can you do in the meantime?
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Use the following script via phone ☎️ or email ???? and contact both the Premier and the Health Minister today!
“Hi Premier Higgs/Minister Flemming,
My name is *full name (spell it)*, I live in *town, province, postal code*. New Brunswick is currently in violation of the Canada Health Act resulting in the imminent closure of Clinic 554, a vital health care centre in the province. I’m calling/emailing you today to demand that you repeal Regulation 84-20 and bring New Brunswick in line with the rest of Canada by funding abortions in private clinics.
You have the power to make this change before the election and I encourage you to do so.
I can be reached at *phone number/email address*, thank you very much.”
Premier Blaine Higgs
Phone : (506) 453-2144
Fax : (506) 453-7407
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone : (506) 457-4800
Fax : (506) 453-5243
Email : Hugh.Flemming@gnb.ca
The closure of Clinic 554 is a direct result of the financial and legislative barriers posed by the Province of New Brunswick. New Brunswick does not fund abortion services outside of hospitals, which forces patients who do not live within travel distance of the province’s three hospitals to pay out-of-pocket for reproductive care. This is in violation of the Canada Health Act.
While the Federal Health Minister has acknowledged that refusing to fund abortion services in clinic settings break federal laws, there has been no effort from the federal government to enforce the Act. Clinic 554 was established to fill this drastic gap in health services for New Brunswickers after a dedicated campaign by Fredericton Youth Feminists and Reproductive Justice New Brunswick activists. It is Canada’s first crowdsourced health care clinic.
In addition to reproductive care, Clinic 554 is a full-scope family practice that operates on a reproductive justice model. The clinic took 600 patients off the province’s long wait-list for a family doctor between 2015 and 2016 and became one of the first clinics in the region to fight the opioid crisis with addiction services. Clinic 554 provides essential gender affirming services, and is one of the only places where many vital queer, trans, and reproductive health services are available in the Maritimes. Of the thousands of patients who’ve accessed care at the clinic, about one thousand identify on the queer or trans spectrum.
While the clinic has won national awards in recognition for its excellence in providing care, the clinic is still running on donations and much of the care provided by the clinic is unfunded or highly underfunded. Because the clinic provides care to marginalized communities, it also faces outright hostility from the province and the medical establishment, which places enormous strain on the staff and volunteers who provide care at the clinic.
“No supposedly universal healthcare system should be allowed to break the backs of its most vulnerable citizens in order to sustain essential medically necessary services.” says Dr Adrian Edgar, Medical Director of Clinic 554.
“We are tired of doing the government’s job. We are tired of being told to accept less because we are queer, because we are pregnant, because we are trans, because we are women and because we are New Brunswickers.” says Jessi Taylor, spokesperson for Reproductive Justice New Brunswick, “We have the law but we need actual access. The government’s abandonment of New Brunswickers has a body count.”
For many patients, Clinic 554 is a beloved family practice and the sole accessible provider of a myriad of life saving services, which are all at risk as the clinic faces closure. It is so much more than an “abortion clinic”, but provincial barriers to abortion will jeopardize healthcare for all of these communities, caught in the crossfire of the province’s decades long war on reproductive health. We refuse to let our needs be pitted against each other. RJNB is calling on the community to put more pressure on provincial and federal politicians and Horizon Health to ensure that New Brunswick follows the Canada Health Act and provide the clinic with the necessary funding to continue its operations.
Dr Edgar has made a statement which can be found on Clinic 554’s Facebook page.