"We Have the Law, We Need the Access" - The Case for Abortion Services in NB

Editor's Note: As a women's magazine, we have a duty to report on the issues concerning young women.  The right to accessible abortion is arguably one of the biggest women's issues in our country, with passionate opinions on both sides.  Any opinions expressed are the author's, and do not necessarily represent Her Campus and/or Her Campus Media.

New Brunswick is up in arms over the recent news of Fredericton’s Morgentaler clinic, the only private abortion clinic in New Brunswick, being forced to close down in July due to a lack of funding from the provincial government.

With the closing of the Morgentaler clinic, access to safe and affordable abortion services has become extremely restricted, not only for residents of New Brunswick, but for residents of Prince Edward Island as well. PEI residents have been forced to travel to New Brunswick to access these healthcare services, due to the lack of provincial funding to abortion services in their own province. New Brunswick residents will be facing the same fate if the New Brunswick government continues to refuse funding toward abortion services.

Even worse, the lack of access has been shown to lead to desperation in those who need abortion services. When safe and affordable abortions are not accessible, abortions still occur. These abortions are performed without professional help, and are often performed alone by the individual, posing a large threat to their health, their safety, and their life.

This dangerous and life-threatening situation is all too real for those who have no access to safe and affordable abortion services, and it affects not only the individuals in need of abortion, but their families, friends, and communities. This is a societal issue. It affects everyone.

On Thursday, April 17th, a rally was held in front of the legislature building in Fredericton, not only to protest the closing of the clinic, but to demand that the New Brunswick government recognize the federal law concerning the right to safe and accessible abortion services nationwide.

Chants were shouted from the crowd of over 300 people gathered in solidarity for the right to access abortion services.

“We have the law, we need the access!” and “what do we want? Access! When do we want it? Now!” rang through the crowded front lawn of the legislature, and bright, bold signs were held by many of the protestors.

Some protesters thrust wire coat hangers into the air as they shouted the chants and yelled “shame” when anti-choice politicians took their turn to speak at the rally. Among these were other speakers, such as the leader of the Fredericton Youth Feminists, nurses who work at the Morgentaler clinic, and a professor from UPEI, who has been studying the detrimental effects of restricted access to abortion services.

The rally was energetic and passionate, and it demonstrated democracy in action. People are not willing to sit idly and have their rights denied and restricted in the face of federal law.

We have already won the fight for the right to abortions in Canada. Now it is time to see that right become accessible and for our own provincial government to stop oppressing its people.

We have the law, we need the access.