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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

CONTACT:

NAF Communications Department
202-667-5881
press@prochoice.org

National Abortion Federation Expresses Deep Concern for Abortion Access and Funding in New Brunswick

> Read the full letter (PDF file, 45K)

Victoria, BC/Washington, DC - Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, issued a letter today to the Honourable Brad Green, QC, the Minister of Health for the Government of New Brunswick. The letter voiced concern over the lack of access and funding for abortion in New Brunswick.

With the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton, the only hospital that regularly provides abortions in the province, suspending their services at the end of June, Saporta noted, "Unless swift action is taken, New Brunswick women will have to overcome tremendous burdens in order to access the abortion care they need. Women may be required to travel longer distances to find a publicly-funded abortion provider, compelled to use their own money to pay for an abortion, or even forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term."

Saporta also discussed the existing inequities in funding for abortion services. Due to New Brunswick's policy of only funding abortions provided by obstetrician-gynecologists in hospital settings, and the requirement of approval from two physicians before services are provided, many women seek care instead at the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, where services are more readily accessible. Saporta stated, "Approximately 1,000 abortions are provided annually in New Brunswick with at least half provided by the Morgentaler Clinic. However, New Brunswick will not provide public funding for this facility, and instead women must pay with their own money for services. This policy is a clear violation of the Canada Health Act.

"It is our understanding that many options are under consideration, including locating another hospital, possibly out of province, to provide abortion services. Sending women to hospitals in other provinces is an unacceptable solution as it would contravene the Canada Health Act's guarantee of services and place unnecessary burdens on New Brunswick women."

Saporta offered to meet with Green to discuss approaches that would allow women in New Brunswick to access timely, funded abortion care.

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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in Canada and the United States. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org

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