In mid-May, Fredericton’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital unexpectedly announced it no longer has the necessary staff or resources to commit abortions. This announcement galvanized abortion supporters – Henry Morgentaler, for example, renewed his call for the New Brunswick government to pay for abortions at his site.
Rosella Melanson, executive director of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women insisted (incorrectly), “The Supreme Court has said women have a right to abortions.”
Judy Burwell, former director of the Morgentaler “Clinic,” said, “Some women are going to be forced to probably have children they’re not prepared to bring into the world.”
NDP leader Allison Brewer, another former abortuary director, said, “The government wants to get out of providing safe, affordable access to abortion and they are going to put the entire responsibility for that on the shoulders of Dr. Morgentaler. That is a shame.” When politicians did not debate the issue, she said, “It makes us look backwoods.”
The bigger players wrote to the government and called for a supporting flood of letters. Andrea Cohen, president of Canadian Federation for Sexual Health (aka Planned Parenthood), offered to assist the government in its efforts. She urged it to:
- pay for Morgentaler-committed abortions
- change the act so that abortions no longer need be approved by two doctors and committed in hospitals, and
- work with hospitals throughout the province to help them obtain the resources necessary to continue to commit abortions.
Joyce Arthur, described by LifeSite as one of Canada’s most vociferous pro-abortion activists, says the N.B. government “has created a repressive atmosphere for abortion providers.” A founder of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, she pressed the provincial government to:
- find and encourage abortionists
- reinstate abortion “services”
- make them universally available
- immediately repeal the “unconstitutional and discriminatory” act
She also encouraged letters be written to Tony Clement, federal minister of health, insisting that he continue and prioritize the Dispute Resolution Process (arbitration panel), which former health minister Dosanjh started, to pressure N.B. into paying for Morgentaler abortions.
The Morgentaler “Clinic” is an accredited member of the National Abortion Federation. It describes itself as the professional association of abortion “providers,” representing more than 400 sites in Canada and the United States. President and CEO Vicki Saporta’s letter demanded that the Lord government:
- contract the services of the Morgentaler “Clinic,” and
- allow all family practice physicians to commit abortions
Dr. Bill Cook, vice-president of the region’s medical affairs, said the Health Authority hopes to eventually restore Chalmers’ abortion services – if the staff shortage can be addressed.
Health Minister Brad Green called access to “medically necessary termination of pregnancy” a high priority and said the government is determined to ensure “a seamless transition” (that is, that babies can continue to be disposed of as conveniently as possible).
He said another abortion-providing hospital would be found, outside the province if necessary. He even encouraged other doctors to take up the practice and later announced that physicians in two hospitals are willing to do so.
N.B. Right to Life argues that medicare covers abortion only in cases of genuine medical necessity. The Guttmacher Institute showed that only three per cent of abortion seekers cite health risks as their reason. The Canadian Abortion Rights Action League once admitted to a House of Commons committee that women seek abortions “for socio-economic reasons.”
N.B. RTL executive director, Peter Ryan, noted that in abortuaries, there is no assessment or demonstration of medical necessity. “What we have,” he said, “is abortion on demand and that is against our Medicare law. The new federal Tory government, which promised to end corruption, should not stand for it.”
So N.B. RTL has been calling upon federal Minister Clement to investigate possible Medicare fraud by provinces that fund private abortuaries.
“Green is disrespecting the law and flouting his moral responsibility,” said Ryan. “Arranging the taking of innocent life is surely not the business of government.”