New Fredericton clinic to offer abortions, reproductive services
FREDERICTON -- Plans are being made to open a new clinic in Fredericton to offer a range of reproductive services, including abortions.
Reproductive Justice New Brunswick says Clinic 554 will open at the site of the former Morgentaler Clinic in the coming weeks after a fundraising campaign raised more than $125,000 to help it begin operations.
The Morgentaler Clinic was the only private facility in the province offering abortions before it closed in July because of a lack of funds.
Reproductive Justice New Brunswick says it's been told by the provincial government that abortion services offered at the new clinic will not be covered by Medicare.
The clinic will also offer services for the province's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, as well as people with HIV, sexually transmitted infections and Hepatitis C.
Under changes made by the Liberal government that took effect Jan. 1, women no longer have to get the approval of two doctors before having an abortion.
Premier Brian Gallant has said the move is aimed at opening access to the procedure for women but he recently appealed for patience because it will take some time before hospitals in the province are ready to perform abortions.
The controversy over access to abortions heightened in the province when the Morgentaler clinic closed. It was doing more than 600 abortions a year, while the Health Department has said about 400 were being done at two hospitals in Moncton and Bathurst.
The hospitals in Moncton and Bathurst that provide abortions are part of the francophone health authority known as Vitalite.
Gallant has said both hospitals are bilingual and it is not unusual that certain procedures are only available at some hospitals.
The Horizon Health Network is developing plans to provide access to abortions and hopes to offer the service in April.
Clinic 554's medical director, Dr. Adrian Eoin Edgar, says it will provide a range of services to communities that cannot always get the care they need, including transgender children, youth and adults.
"New Brunswick is more diverse than people think. There are a lot of people here with unique health needs but we're too strapped for cash," Edgar says in a statement.
"We just wanted to do our part to contribute -- to make sure all New Brunswickers have access to the same quality and range of health-care services that other provinces have."