A group of students at St. Thomas University has launched an online petition asking the New Brunswick government to fund abortions at a private clinic.

The aspiring social workers say they know women who have had difficulty accessing abortions and they want the province to fund abortions at Fredericton’s private Morgentaler Clinic.

“The struggle that that person experienced is heartbreaking and it’s really motivated us to really fight for this,” says STU student Kathleen Curtis.

The New Brunswick government does fund abortions, but only when approved by two doctors and only in provincially-designated hospitals.

Vanessa Cormier is the only student from outside New Brunswick who is working on the petition.

“The fact that a mere few hours away, I would be able to access those services as a Nova Scotian, while anyone in this province, as a woman, wouldn’t be able to access those services, there’s a disconnect there,” says Cormier.

In less than 48 hours, the students’ petition has been signed by more than 1,000 people.

“This is a fundamental human right for women,” says Curtis. “This is a women’s issue and they need to look at this as a matter of importance.”

But the issue has long been a divisive one and successive governments have been reluctant to rewrite the law.

“Oh, that’s an issue that’s come and gone over the years. I don’t suspect so, at this time,” says New Brunswick Health Minister Hugh Flemming.

The New Brunswick Right to Life Association is located next door to the Morgentaler Clinic. They say they continue to adamantly oppose the public funding of abortions.

A spokesperson says while St. Thomas University has roots in the Catholic Church, the school is a modern university with a range of perspectives and positions.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Andy Campbell