National feminist groups welcome long-awaited legal action on abortion access in New Brunswick

For Immediate Release

A coalition of national feminist organizations welcomes the initiation of legal action by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association to fight the discriminatory and anti-choice regulation that prohibits the funding of abortion care outside of hospital settings in New Brunswick.

In October 2020, Clinic 554, the only free-standing clinic providing surgical abortions in the province, announced it would be closing its doors, leaving thousands without access to abortion care and gender-affirming care. New Brunswick’s 30-year-old Regulation 84-20 restricts funding for surgical abortions through the provincial health care system to hospital settings – the only province with such a provision, which violates the Canada Health Act. Only three hospitals in the province provide abortion services, all of which are located in Moncton and Bathurst.

“Abortion care is essential health care and a right. Even more so in the middle of a pandemic where travel is discouraged, it is shameful that the government is forcing people to travel hundreds of kilometres outside their community to access basic health care,” said Kara Gillies, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. “We look forward to supporting further legal action to protect the right to health of all Canadians.”

“Feminist and reproductive justice advocates have been calling for the repeal of the discriminatory restriction on abortion in Regulation 84-20 for years – and support steps taken to hold the government of New Brunswick accountable to ensuring women, girls, and transgender people have access to care,” said Kerri Froc with the National Association of Women and the Law.

Feminist groups have repeatedly called on the government of New Brunswick to immediately repeal the abortion restriction contained in Regulation 84-20 and on the federal government to enforce the Canada Health Act in the province. In March, the federal government withheld $140,216 in transfer payments to the province due to this violation; however funding was restored in light of the pandemic, and the province additionally received more than $200 million in federal transfers to support its response to COVID-19.

-30-

The coalition of feminist organizations is comprised of the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, West Coast LEAF Association, LEAF and Oxfam Canada.

Media Inquiries

Laura Neidhart
Director of Communications
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
613-241-4474 ext. 107

Kerri Froc
Member of National Steering Committee
National Association of Women and the Law
506-450-3007