The Coat Hanger Campaign

by Access to Options Caucus — last modified 2008-10-29T12:29:51-04:00

By the Access to Options Caucus of the Fredericton Social Network.

Once again our right to choose has come under direct attack in New Brunswick. As of July 1st, 2006, the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton is no longer performing publicly funded abortions. Financial reasons were cited for terminating this service; because the hospital is short-staffed. The Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital was the last publicly funded institution to provide abortion services for the entire province of New Brunswick. Our provincial government has been quick to promise us that abortion services will be performed in at least one other publicly funded institution in the province, but they will not release the names of the doctors who have volunteered to fill this gap in our health care services, nor the location where this service will be provided.

We need to oppose this latest attack on a woman's reproductive health, and we need to voice our opposition to the systematic deterioration of publicly funded health services. Our government is not living up to its commitments to provide adequate and accessible health services as stipulated under the Canada Health Act.

Concerned New Brunswickers are spearheading a campaign to let the Government of New Brunswick know that denying a woman’s right to choose and consequently endangering her reproductive health is unacceptable, and to demand that the government immediately begin a publicly funded program to provide abortion services in all hospitals across the province.

We would like to begin by organizing a campaign, with the goal of having at least 400 letters sent to our provincial Health Minister, Brad Green, who approved the cancellation of abortion services at the Fredericton Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital. We are suggesting that each letter contain a coat hanger to remind our public health representative of one of the most disturbing dangers of restricting a woman’s right to choose: self-induced abortion.

We would like these letters to clearly express the danger of the current situation, as well as suggest positive improvements that our government can make to bring us closer to having access to adequate public health care. We encourage the inclusion of statistics from reliable sources, personal statements of the dangers of not providing abortion services, and the changes that you deem to be most urgent. This campaign will continue for an entire month, ending with a Pro-Choice Rally in Fredericton, NB, on the 19th of August.

Please find listed below the various addresses of the Honourable Brad Green’s offices, to which you should address your letters. We have also provided some suggestions of demands you may wish to include in your letters to Mr. Green, as well as a form letter and several online resources which you should feel free to use.

Recommended Improvements to our public system

  • return to publicly funded abortions at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton
  • providing provincial funding for all abortions
  • the inclusion of all public health facilities in New Brunswick to perform abortions, so that families who cannot afford to travel will have equal access.
  • eliminating the necessity of having two doctors confirm that an abortion is “medically necessary” before the procedure will be funded by the province. This is the only medical procedure that needs two equally qualified medical professionals to approve, and its sole purpose seems to be the limiting of access.
  • removing politically motivated categorization of abortions such as “medically necessary”, and “therapeutic”
  • improved education and access to birth control options
  • improved education and access to the morning after pill
  • comprehensive sexual education program in schools
  • sexual education programs in schools starting earlier in the school curriculum

Mailing Addresses:


If you choose to write an e-mail, please CC, or BCC all correspondence to [email protected]

For more information, please have a look at the following links:

1. Lack of abortion access may violate health act: analyst

http://www.cbc.ca/nb/story/nb_abortion20060523.html

2. Backgrounder - Abortion Access Issues

http://www.arcc-cdac.ca/backgrounders/access.htm

3. Five Basic Principles Not Met

http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org

4. Women To Be Denied Funded Abortions in New Brunswick

http://www.womennet.ca/news.php?show&4366


Example Letter:

Date

Dear NB Minister of Health,

I am writing to express my great dismay over the New Brunswick government's recent decision to terminate publicly funded abortions at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. The government's proposal to further erode an already inaccessible abortion service system in this province is an irresponsible move in the wrong direction that needs to be reversed.

Given that 400 of the 404 publicly funded abortions performed in New Brunswick last year were done at the Chalmers Hospital and that there has yet to be an announcement by the government of where women can go to obtain a publicly funded abortion, the government is infringing on the rights of women to choose, and seriously jeopardizing public health.

Historically, women in our area, like elsewhere in the world, have tried to end unintended pregnancies when abortion services were inaccessible. Sadly, healthcare professionals in this province are still witnessing the effects of self-induced abortions and dangerous illegal procedures caused by a system that does not provide access for women to obtain a publicly funded and accessible abortion. This tragic scenario is only expected to continue and worsen with the further backward measures to make abortion services even more inaccessible.

I call on your government to return publicly funded abortion services to the Chalmers Hospital as well as enhanced publicly funded abortion services throughout the province so that women seeking abortions throughout the province have access to this necessary health service. The fact that the only abortion providers in this province are located in urban centres means that many women seeking abortions must travel varying distances from their homes and some do not have the means to do so. Also, many women who need abortions simply cannot afford them. For this reason, it is important that publicly funded abortion services be extended throughout the province.

Finally, New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that refuses to pay for abortions performed in private clinics. I call on the government to stop violating the Canada Health Act and make abortion services more accessible by paying for these clinical abortions.

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

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