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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, August 11, 2008

CONTACT:

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

New Brunswick Court Grants Morgentaler Right to Challenge Abortion Policy

Saporta: This decision is a promising step toward correcting the inequalities New Brunswick women face when attempting to access abortion care.

Last week, the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench ruled that NAF member Dr.  Henry Morgentaler has the right to challenge New Brunswick's restrictive policy on abortion funding.

"This decision is a promising step toward correcting the inequalities New Brunswick women face when attempting to access abortion care," said Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation.

Although access to health care - including abortion - is guaranteed by the Canada Health Act, women in New Brunswick can only obtain a funded abortion if it is provided by an obstetrician-gynecologist, in a hospital and only after two doctors have approved that it is medically necessary. These unsound provincial policies imposed by the province's Medical Services Payment Act and corresponding regulations mean that women must often pay out of pocket for abortion care.

New Brunswick stands alone in imposing such unconstitutional restrictions. Throughout the rest of Canada, abortion is considered a safe, legal, insured and funded service, meaning that a woman should not have to pay for abortion care.

"The current situation in New Brunswick treats women unfairly and interferes with their access to abortion care," Saporta said. "New Brunswick needs to revise their arcane and unfair policies to come into compliance with the Canada Health Act and to meet the reproductive health care needs of women in the province." 

More than half of the abortions provided in New Brunswick each year are provided by the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton. For more than 40 years, Dr. Morgentaler has advocated for women's lives and health, and this latest challenge continues to exemplify his commitment to ensure that women have access to publicly funded abortion care.

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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. 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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