The sole abortion provider in New Brunswick’s capital announced their impending closure this week.
With abortion rights at the centre of the ongoing federal election, the clinic’s closure highlights the access issues facing hundreds of thousands of people across the country. New Brunswick is the only province that refuses to pay for or reimburse patients for abortion services performed outside of hospitals – despite this being in violation of the Canada Health Act. Of the three hospitals that provide the service in the province, none are in Fredericton. Clinic 554 is for sale in the face of financial uncertainty and would be forced to stop operations within 90 days of purchase.
While the stigma around funding abortion services has led to the clinic’s closure, Clinic 554 provided a full range of primary care health services, including cervical cancer screenings, gender-affirming care for transgender patients, and treatments for survivors of sexual assault. Clinic 554 also provides pre- and post-natal care to people without family doctors and opiate agonist therapy for people with addictions. Its closure will mean one less family doctor in New Brunswick, leaving a massive hole in the medical treatments available in the community and the entire province.
Action Canada and Clinic 554 say they expect the next federal government to take swift, decisive action on October 22nd to hold New Brunswick accountable under the Canada Health Act by immediately withholding health transfers to the province until they fund abortion care outside of hospital settings.