N.B. advocates plan rallies, fundraisers to support U.S. and Canadian abortion access organizations
After a weekend full of rallies and protests across North America, the outrage after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V. Wade hasn’t died down.
Jenna Lyn Albert is planning for more in New Brunswick, where abortion access has been a challenging and divisive issue for decades.
“It's scary and it can feel helpless, and I think that's what a lot of folks are feeling is that - we're not sure what we can do,” they said.
Albert is planning a rally and fundraisers over the coming weeks, hoping to show support towards organizations on both sides of the border.
“Part of the proceeds will go towards folks in New Brunswick or in Atlantic Canada that are seeking help with abortion access and part of those funds will be going to some of the American organizations that are trying to support folks who do not have abortion access in certain states,” they said.
Access has been top-of-mind for many in Fredericton and all of New Brunswick, where abortions are limited to hospitals – and only hospitals in Moncton and Bathurst.
Clinic 554 – formally a Dr. Henry Morgentaler clinic – is slated to close, after trying to offer abortions, at a cost to the clinic and patients.
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is challenging the restriction in court.
Registered nurse and Dalhousie University expert who specializes in abortion and reproductive care, Martha Paynter, reminds everyone that the procedure is health care.
“So, it is treated no differently than a knee replacement or a prescription for antibiotics,” she said.
Paynter says access has improved. In Nova Scotia, a provincial self-referral line gives patients the information they need to access a medical or surgical abortion.
Prince Edward Island opened a women's reproductive health centre in 2017, offering abortions.
But it doesn’t take away from the outrage so many are feeling, she says.
“This is a threat, not only to the body's inherent worth, but to democracy. You can't participate in civil society if you don't have control over the size of your family, when you get to go to education, what type of a job you're going to have and whether your body is safe,” she said.
The Campaign Life Coalition said in a statement after the ruling that it’s “only a matter of time before life will be winning in Canada too.”
Those who’ve been fighting for access for some time are promising to continue – despite it being exhausting.
“It's frustrating, as a person with a uterus in this province, as a queer person in this province, to keep shouting and screaming and fighting for it,” said Albert.