Before the closure of the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic this summer, Ruth Lockhart of the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center in Bangor, Maine, saw a client from New Brunswick every eight-to-ten weeks.
That number has jumped to five New Brunswick clients accessing her clinic’s services every week.
"We do about 500 abortions a year. We see maybe ten to 15 [clients] a week, and … we had one to two [women from New Brunswick] in a six-month period," said Lockhart.
"And then in the last couple of weeks, it’s changed from that to half our clients. We’re talking a small number to start with, but still. Where we’re doing ten procedures and five are from Maine and five are from New Brunswick, it’s hard not to notice."
Lockhart’s clinic isn’t the only one. She said it’s a trend being accommodated by other abortion clinics in her area.
"There are three [clinics] open to the public in Maine … we’re all noticing this."
The Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic closed its doors in July because it could no longer sustain itself financially after the province refused to fund it.
Reproductive Justice New Brunswick has since been fundraising and lobbying for the re-opening of a new clinic that will offer publicly funded, comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion.
They have pushed for the repeal of the province’s regulation that requires permission from two doctors to receive a funded abortion which is deemed medically necessary at a hospital, saying the regulation contradicts the 1988 Morgentaler decision.
The group became cautiously optimistic when new Liberal Premier Brian Gallant Liberal took power after the Sept. 22 provincial election, as he has promised a review of what he considers unconstitutional barriers to New Brunswick abortion access. […]