We’re losing our right to choose!

In New Brunswick, the hard-won struggle for women’s choice in the matter of reproduction is sliding. The government there has recriminalized abortion through the back door by using the Medical Services Payment Act to restrict funding.  Which province is next?


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2006
Access to abortion in the province has become critically limited, according

to a group of women concerned with the issue, including the Advisory Council

on the Status of Women, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada and the

National Abortion Federation.

"For the last couple of weeks, referrals for abortions in the province have

not been possible. No referrals are accepted until mid January by the two

physicians who provide the service, and the provincial government is not

providing alternate arrangements," said Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, Chairperson

of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women.  " There have

been several cases of appointments cancelled. These women are not then

referred to any other service. Women are not being referred to hospitals

outside the province.  New Brunswick does not have reciprocal billing

arrangements.  Those who can pay make their way to the Morgentaler clinic.

That clinic is struggling to keep up with a 25% increase in procedures."

"Last week I had yet another patient turned away," said Dr. JoAnn Majerovich

of Fredericton. "She actually was given an appointment to have the procedure

done and then the hospital cancelled on her. The government is adding

psychological insult to injury by creating a climate of fear and shame

around a legal procedure. The government of New Brunswick has recriminalized

abortion through the back door by using the Medical Services Payment Act to

restrict funding through situations it can control, like hospitals,

ultimately limiting access to abortion. In doing so New Brunswick is

discriminating against women and especially those who are the most

vulnerable."

According to Ginette Petitipas-Taylor, "Access to abortion should not depend

on the schedules of two physicians. It must be a service provided by the

public health system.  The government must create access points for women

who have no family doctor, who have an anti-choice doctor or who are faced

with impossible waiting times for a hospital abortion. As a nurse has

written to us, Requiring written consent, especially when so many people do

not have a family physician, restricts access for the most vulnerable, the

young and the isolated - the very same women who are the least able to cope

with an unintended pregnancy and an unplanned child. The written approval of

two doctors should not be required to have the procedure and general

practitioners should be allowed to perform abortions in the public system."

"New Brunswick does little to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and then we make

abortion only available to a few.  The Advisory Council promotes a planned

pregnancy initiative."

For information, contact:

Ginette Petitpas-Taylor, Chairperson, NB ACSW, 1-800-332-3087.

Judy Burwell, Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, 506 490-9049.

Dr. JoAnn Majerovich, 453-4837; 455-8806.

Dawn Fowler, National Abortion Federation, (250) 598-1858.
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