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'If the patient couldn't pay, we wouldn't turn them away': N.B.'s only abortion clinic closing


After years of ups and downs, New Brunswick’s only clinic that provides procedural abortions outside of a hospital setting is closing.

Originally known as the Morgentaler clinic, the building in downtown Fredericton was taken over by Dr. Adrian Edgar a decade ago and renamed “Clinic 554.”

Dr. Edgar continued to provide reproductive and abortion services as well as operating as a family medicine practice, seeing upwards of 3,000 patients. But abortions provided outside of hospitals in New Brunswick are not covered by Medicare, and Edgar says many patients could not pay the $700-to-$850 fee.

In a news conference on the steps of the New Brunswick Legislature Wednesday, the physician said that’s not feasible anymore, and announced the clinic would be closing as of Feb. 1.

New Brunswick provides abortion services at the Moncton Hospital, the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre in Moncton and the Chaleur Regional Hospital in Bathurst. Since 2017, the abortion pill Mifepristone has been available to New Brunswickers with a prescription.

In a 2023 study, researchers at the University of New Brunswick found more than 1,000 abortions were provided by the clinic between 2015 and 2022.

The study stated: “Clinic 554 provided $52,245 of pro bono work between 2015 and 2022 to ensure access to abortion was maintained. For each person who needed pro bono assistance, the clinic provided on average $439.03.”

Because of these costs, Edgar says the work isn’t financially sustainable.

“We have no funding so we're perpetually losing money, It's never been a service that makes money for anyone, it's filling a gap for people because in my heart I believe that's the right thing to do,” he said. “If the patient couldn't pay, we wouldn't turn them away, we don't believe in that.”

The clinic’s building was sold in 2022. Edgar rented space from the new owners and continued to provide abortion care one day a week, but said as of Wednesday, that ends.

“It is devastating that after 30 years of work and advocacy, we are losing a vital health-care service,” said Reproductive Justice New Brunswick representative Sophie Lavoie.

Liberal leader Susan Holt says it’s not a surprise.

“It's not a surprise because we've watched this government improve access to cataract surgeries and not do the same for abortion clinics because this government doesn't want to touch this issue and provide access to health care for New Brunswickers,” she said.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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