NB Advocates Stand in Solidarity with Americans for Abortion Access – New Brunswick | Globalnews.ca

About 100 people gathered on the lawn of the New Brunswick legislature to speak about the lack of equitable and affordable access to abortion in the province.

The rally was set against the backdrop of thousands of people marching in other parts of Canada and the US after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade, which upheld the constitutional right to abortion.

For the organizers, it was also about showing how difficult it is even here in Canada and New Brunswick.

“Living in New Brunswick, we know all too well the barriers to accessing abortion and 2SLGBGTQIA+ health care and we offer our (support), our anger and our voices to Americans affected by these developments,” said organizer Jenna Lyn Albert.

In New Brunswick, surgical abortions cannot be performed outside of the hospital.

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There are only three places a person can get an abortion, two hospitals in Moncton and one in Bathurst. It leaves many in the province without equal access to services, advocates have repeatedly said.

Dr. Adrian Edgar, who was the previous owner of the 554 Clinic, has been a tireless advocate for trans and queer health care, but also abortion.

Edgar took over the old Morgentaler clinic, which was facing its own difficulties at the time, lacking provincial funding. It was about to close when Edgar took over.

New Brunswick’s rules are among the strictest around surgical abortions, Edgar said.

“New Brunswick is way behind the rest of Canada when it comes to gender and reproductive health,” she said in an interview on Saturday. “But seeing what is happening in the United States, it is waking up a number of people who are not very aware of how desperate the situation is here.”

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He still performs surgical abortions, but they cost close to $800.

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“Our legislators don’t care what’s best for us,” he said, addressing the crowd. “They worry about controlling us.”

Groups in the province, including the Civil Liberties Association, have called on the government of the day to repeal Regulation 84-20, the law that prohibits out-of-hospital abortions.

The current progressive conservative government has not wanted to do this. The federal government has cut health transfers to the province in response to its stance on abortions, but has stopped short of forcing the government to comply with the Canada Health Act.

“These laws are intentional,” Edgar said. “The intent was to deprive women of their bodily autonomy and that violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

New Brunswick is the only jurisdiction in Canada that restricts out-of-hospital abortions.

But amidst the signs that read “my body, my choice” and “keep your rosaries out of my ovaries” was the anger and outrage felt by many advocates.

“Why the hell do we keep doing this?” yelled Jennifer Stairs, executive director of the New Brunswick New Democratic Party. “I don’t know what we have to do as New Brunswickers to say enough is enough, but for God’s sake, enough is enough.”

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