100 rally at N.B. Legislature for better abortion, LGBTQ health-care access

·2 min read
About 100 peaceful protestors gathered Saturday at the New Brunswick Legislature. (Isabelle Leger/CBC - image credit)
About 100 peaceful protestors gathered Saturday at the New Brunswick Legislature. (Isabelle Leger/CBC - image credit)

About 100 people gathered at the New Brunswick Legislature in Fredericton Saturday to rally for abortion and LGBTQ rights.

The protest comes after Roe v. Wade was overturned in the United States, which secured constitutional protections for abortion in the country for nearly 50 years.

"It's frustrating… to be going through so much communal trauma at the same time, with the pandemic, with an increase in homophobic and transphobic rhetoric… to see that news really felt like a setback," said Jenna Albert.

"As an abortions advocate in New Brunswick, we've been pushing for better access, but with Roe v. Wade repealed it's having wide-ranging impacts… it's dangerous."

Abortions are decriminalized in Canada.

When Roe v. Wade was overturned, Albert said messaging around how Americans can access abortions in Canada began to circulate, "but there wasn't a lot of messaging around the fact that abortions still aren't accessible everywhere in Canada."

Albert said people in rural communities and in New Brunswick, in particular, are some of the most affected by the lack of access.

Isabelle Leger/CBC
Isabelle Leger/CBC

Advocates at the rally called for Regulation 84-20 to be repealed, which currently only allows abortion services to be funded by Medicare when performed in hospital.

As of now, Medicare covers abortions performed at three hospitals in the province: two in Moncton and one in Bathurst.

Clinic 554 in Fredericton offered in-clinic abortions that weren't covered by Medicare, which cost patients between $750 and $800.

"That's not accessibility," said Albert.

The clinic is now operating at reduced capacity until its new owners take over.

Albert said advocates are also pushing to see more offerings for LGBTQ health care in the province.

"Clinic 554 is exactly what we needed in this province," Nicki Lyons-MacFarlane, a women's advocate for Unifor, said to a crowd of peaceful protesters Saturday. "It was the one place we could turn to when we had questions or needed any form of care."

Lyons-MacFarlane said Clinic 554 was also a place for LGBTQ health care, including gender-affirming procedures, that aren't readily available in the province.

"We've been fighting for our rights and access to services for decades and here we are again, fighting a fight that's been going on for too long," said Lyons-MacFarlane.

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