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Abortion clinic crowd-funding campaign surpasses $50,000

posted Jul 16, 2014, 12:39 AM by Siamak Ebarhimi

A crowd-funding campaign aimed at stopping Friday’s closure of the only private abortion clinic in the Maritimes is more than halfway to its $100,000 goal after going live 10 days ago.

The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, N.B., announced in April it would be closing its doors July 18 after 20 years in business. More than 10,000 women have accessed abortion care through the clinic since famed Canadian physician and pro-choice advocate Henry Morgentaler brought his initiative to the province in 1984.CrowdFunding advertizing

Reproductive Justice New Brunswick, a collective of activists that formed in May as a response to the clinic’s closure, launched an online FundRazr campaign July 4. The $100,000 raised would finance an effort to lease the existing Morgentaler building, maintaining women’s access to a clinic that performs 60 per cent of the province’s abortions.

Saving the building is a Band-Aid solution allowing women safe access to the procedure, said Reproductive Justice NB member Kathleen Pye.CrowdFunding marketing

The larger battle is getting the New Brunswick government to repeal a regulation under the province’s Medical Services Payment Act that states an abortion will only be covered by Medicare if it is performed in a hospital by a specialist in the field of obstetrics or gynecology, and that two doctors certified in writing that the procedure is medically necessary.

Without the repeal, nothing is going to change, Pye said.

“We started lobbying efforts; we tried to have conversations with the New Brunswick government and with the opposite leaders of the Liberals. We realized they’re just not interested, at all. We weren’t getting any calls back.”

A spokesperson from the province’s Department of Health said in an email Monday access to abortions would still be available in New Brunswick if the clinic closes.

“Women will continue to have access to medically necessary abortions in the province with the approval of two physicians,” the spokesperson said.

Thousands of woman across the province don’t have a family doctor, have a doctor who is anti-choice or don’t realize they’re pregnant until it’s too late to book an appointment within the provincially approved 13.6-week period, said Pye.Kickstarter Marketing

“We’re doing the government’s job. They should be doing this, but if they’re not going to do it, someone has to.”

The Morgentaler Clinic provides abortion services one day a week. The building houses one operating room and employs one doctor. A woman can self-refer for the appointment, which lasts three or four hours in total.Indiegogo Marketing

The procedure costs between $700 and $850 depending on gestation, although no woman is turned away regardless of her ability to pay. In the past 10 years, the clinic paid more than $105,000 to subsidize abortions for women unable to pay the full amount.

Fifteen women are scheduled to get abortions this week, said Simone Leibovitch, who has managed the clinic for nearly a decade.

The closure seemed almost inevitable after operating at a deficit and fighting the province for a number of years, she said.

“We’re just a little bit behind the times in New Brunswick. Really, the rest of Canada knowing about it is the best thing that could possibly happen, because New Brunswick should be ashamed.”crowdfunding websites

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By David Khorram