There is considerable support for the pro-life cause in the 55-seat New Brunswick Legislature, following the Sept. 18 provincial election that gave the Liberals 29 seats and the Progressive Conservatives 26.

Campaign Life Coalition N.B. president Peter Ryan said that 19 of the new MLAs are considered supportive of pro-life – 11 Liberals and eight Conservatives.

Ryan does not expect incoming Premier Shawn Graham to change abortion policies from what they were under Bernard Lord. “The policies of the two parties are pretty similar,” Ryan said. “They both oppose public funding for private abortion clinics, but support abortion ‘services’ in public hospitals. Neither leader is pro-life.”

More positively, Ryan noted that 10 of the 11 Liberal MLAs who participated in the 2006 N.B. March for Life were re-elected. Five winning Liberals were rated “pro-life,” two “pro-life with exceptions” and four others are considered sympathetic to the pro-life cause.

“What remains to be seen,” stated Ryan, “is the extent to which individual pro-life MLAs of whichever party will bring forward policies and legislation protective of life. In the past, there has not been much movement in this regard, unfortunately.”

Abortion has been a hot issue in New Brunswick for several months. The dispute over public funding of Henry Morgentaler’s private site in Fredericton continues. In June, the hospital that had performed almost all of the province’s hospital abortions halted such procedures, leading to an outcry from abortion advocates that women were being denied their “rights.” Two other hospitals have since started up abortions amid much controversy.

There are about 1,000 abortions a year in New Brunswick – about 400 in hospitals and 600 at the Morgentaler site.

This story originally appeared Sept. 20 on and is reprinted with permission.