Protests in support of now-closed Fredericton clinic that provided abortions, hormone therapy
HALIFAX -- Protesters gathered outside of the Fredericton legislature on Saturday to show support for a New Brunswick clinic that was seen as a haven for the province's LGBTQ+ community.
Clinic 554, which has now officially closed its doors, was also the only facility left in the province that provided abortion services outside of a hospital.
"I'm like, extremely frustrated with how the government is treating queer people and women," said protester Live Brennan.
Despite months of advocacy and calls from politicians and medical staff to keep the clinic open, it has been forced to close its doors.
The facility is known as a safe-haven for the entire LGBTQ+ community, with its specialization in transgender health-care.
"Before I found Dr. Edgar, I was suicidal. I didn't really feel like I had much left," said Raelyn Hamill, who participated in the protest on Saturday. "Then I realized in the hospital, after I had mental health episodes, whatever you want to call it, that I was transgender and I just felt like I had something to live for, finally."
Guest speaker at the protest, Amour Love, said this is an issue that won't be swept under the rug.
"This is a human rights issue. These are health issues and values that deserve to be heard and unfortunately, they're not," said Amour Love. "And these are regulations that are moving forward, completely steamrolling over the holistic health of these individuals."
Now, many are wondering what will happen to the patients at Clinic 554.
"I'm here today because, well, I was originally supposed to be here for hormone therapy, and then it closed down and this clinic means a lot to the community," said Jayden James, an organizer of the protest. "Plus, there are over 3,000 people that have a family doctor that works at the clinic and to close that down, it's just going to cause a disaster."
Activists are calling on the government to not only keep the clinic open, but to also repeal New Brunswick's Regulation 84-20, which prevents the province from funding abortions outside of hospitals, under the Medical Services Payment Act.
"With hormones that he provided, the care that only he can provide, it just, it made me who I am," said Hamill. "And to think a politician could take that away from me."
Protesters say they plan to keep the issue in the light, whether that means more protests, or reaching out to their local politicians.