New Brunswick Women Must Wait for Abortions During Christmas Holiday

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 21, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Brunswick Women Must Wait for Abortions During Christmas Holiday Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 21
, 2006

Fredericton, Canada ( — Some women in New Brunswick seeking abortions during the Christmas holiday are going to have to wait until January to get them because two abortion practitioners at local hospitals aren’t scheduling abortions. A representative of a private abortion business says they are fielding more calls as a result.

The Canadian province pays for women to have abortions in the public hospital whereas women have to pay as much as $700 for an abortion at the Morgentaler clinic abortion center.

Simone Leibovitch, Morgentaler’s director, told the CBC that "We’ve had women that were scheduled to go into hospital and couldn’t."

Leibovitch indicated that the volume of calls the abortion business is receiving has increased 25 percent because of the lack of abortions at the hospital. The abortion center has one abortion practitioner and is considering increasing its hours to handle the demand.

"We don’t have a second doctor at the moment," Leibovitch told the CBC. "We may have to think about opening an additional day a week. If we have to do that, we’ll face that when we need to. If it needs to happen, it will."

Rosella Melanson, executive director of the New Brunswick Advisory Council on the Status of Women, complained about the situation.

"It just goes to show that what access we have is only dependent on the schedule of two people," she said.

"The government, the public health system, should provide some backup plan and some referral for women who can’t get access to the two physicians that are doing it," she told the CBC.

In May, the hospital that performed most of the publicly funded abortions in the Canadian province announced it would stop doping abortions this summer.

Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital stopped doing abortions June 30 and it cited workload problems as the reason for stopping.

Last year, the Medicare system in New Brunswick paid for 404 abortions and 400 were done by the River Valley Health authority, with most of them occurring at Chalmers.

Dr. Bill Cooke, the vice-president of medical affairs at Chalmers Hospital, told the CBC that it is up to individual doctors at the hospital to determine whether they want to do abortions. He indicated the obstetrics department is overworked and underfunded and can no long do them.

Last year 600 women had abortions at the Morgentaler abortion facility.

In 2002, there were 105,154 abortions in Canada compared with a figure of 106,270 in 2001. The number of abortions in Canada peaked in 1997 at 112,000. Abortion in Canada were legalized in a 1998 Supreme Court of Canada ruling.