Rally for LGBTQ+ and Women’s Health

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The UNBSJ community came together on Thursday to support the rights of LGBTQ+ and women in New Brunswick, and to protest the closure of Clinic 554 in Fredericton.

UNBSJ Graduate Student Association and True Colours held a rally Thursday to support Clinic 554, where students made signs and marched out to the entrance of campus. (Amelia Bailey/The Baron)

The news of Clinic 554’s potential closing came last week, following the announcement that the provincial government would no longer fund surgical abortions in private clinics.

Clinic 554 provides health care for local patients, women, transgender people, and gender non-conforming people. 

Without the services of the clinic, over three thousand patients will be without a family doctor and will not receive proper health care.

Unless they receive further funding from the government, Clinic 554 will close their doors by the end of the year, leaving their patients to join the twenty thousand other New Brunswickers on the waiting list for a family doctor.

Despite protests from the community and fellow politicians, the Higgs government has refused to provide further funding for surgical abortions at private clinics. 

“This is a direct violation of the Canada Health Act”

FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER, GINETTE PETITPAS TAYLOR, IN A LETTER ADDRESSED TO PROVINCIAL HEALTH MINISTERS. 

While access to reproductive services is incredibly important for women in New Brunswick, Clinic 554 is much more than an abortion clinic.

Their website explains that their goal is to “provide the best health care possible in a safe, anti-oppressive environment with the utmost expertise and standards of care.” 

UNBSJ students showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community and women’s health. (Amelia Bailey/The Baron)

There will be a rally held on Friday, Oct. 25 at 12:00 pm, beginning in King’s Square. The organizers explained on the Facebook event page that they “are asking Saint John to come show their support in a rally for LGBTQ+ and women’s health in New Brunswick.

Our trans, non-binary, and female-identifying citizens are heard and seen. We ask everyone to come with posters, noisemakers, and bright colours to show your support to this community.”

If you would like to show your support, there is a template and contact information below, for both the Premier Blaine Higgs and Health Minister Ted Flemming, which can be used to voice your concern about the closure of Clinic 554.

You may also consider contacting your local MLA, whose information can be found on the Government of New Brunswick’s website.

Letter template

Hello Premier Higgs/Minister Flemming,

My name is full name (spell it), I live in town, province, postal code.

New Brunswick is currently in violation of the Canada Health Act, resulting in the imminent closure of Clinic 554, a vital health care centre in the province. I’m calling/emailing you today to demand that you repeal Regulation 84-20 and bring New Brunswick in line with the rest of Canada by funding abortions in private clinics.

You have the power to make this change before the election, and I encourage you to do so.

I can be reached at phone number/email address, thank you very much.

Blaine Higgs contact info

Phone (506) 453-2144

Fax: (506) 453-7407

Email: premier@gnb.ca

Ted Flemming contact info

Phone: (506) 457-4800

Fax: (506) 453-5243

Email: hugh.flemming@gnb.ca