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Canada-wide Day of Action for Reproductive Justice – Equal Access Now

by Sarah Slaunwhite

Haligonians show their support for equal access
The banner that supporters took turns writing messages of choice
Equal Access Now

 

(K'JIPUKTUK) HALIFAX – “Equal abortion access is just one part of reproductive justice, but it is a vital part, and we should not have to keep fighting for it” said Jennie Donovan to the crowd gathered at Victoria Park on September 20th, 2014.

Donovan, a Board member of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, organized the Halifax-edition of a Canada-wide Day of Action for Reproductive Justice – Equal Access Now, aiming to address the dire situation in New Brunswick and to pressure the New Brunswick government to repeal regulation 84-20 of the Medical Services Payment Act.

In New Brunswick only two hospitals provide abortion services to individuals who choose to access them. Although the procedure is funded, the province enforces unconstitutional regulations that limit accessibility.

In order to access abortion services in New Brunswick, an individual is required to obtain a written letter from two different doctors who deem the procedure to be “medically necessary.” Furthermore, an individual can only complete the procedure if it is during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Once the letters of permission are received, the individual is put on a wait list. The wait times put people’s health at risk, as well as their ability to access vital services.

“These barriers to abortion restrict decision-making, especially for people who lack resources,” said Donovan.

Donovan said since the Morgantaler Clinic in Fredericton was forced to close on July 22nd, 2014, individuals unable to manoeuvre all of the barriers in the restrictive time frame would be forced to seek reproductive services in other provinces.

This restricted access removes the right to make choices about your own body.  

Most folks cannot afford to travel to another province to access these services, and the New Brunswick government will not pay for out-of-province procedures, said Donovan.  

These significant barriers that individuals must navigate through in order to access timely and quality service violates the accessibility principle in the Canada Health Act.

Behind Donovan hung an image of a large coat hanger, a symbol of the dangers of limiting the ability to access safe and quality abortion services. 

Reproductive rights are human rights, said Christina Macdonald, a Schulich School of Law student attending the rally.  

“Every single woman in Nova Scotia should be concerned about the lack of accessibility to abortions for women in New Brunswick. That is why I am here.” 

 

 

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