This morning, the Canadian Association of Midwives received the worrying news of the closure of New Brunswick’s only free-standing clinic providing abortion services. Clinic 554, in New Brunswick’s capital, has been in jeopardy for several years. The provincial government has refused to pay for, or reimburse patients for abortion services performed outside of hospitals. This refusal is a clear violation of the Canada Health Act. We are deeply concerned and upset by this situation.
Canadian populations outside of major urban areas are limited in their options around childbirth, abortion, and reproductive health. Patients are often required to pay out-of-pocket for services offered free of charge to people living in larger centres. Families in Atlantic Canada are already limited in the services they can receive close to home. The closure of Clinic 554 is a blow to an already underserved population, and will only add to the hardship of the region.
According to Action Canada, ”(…) the stigma around funding abortion services has led to the clinic’s closure, Clinic 554 provided a full range of primary care health services, including cervical cancer screenings, gender-affirming care for transgender patients, and treatments for survivors of sexual assault. Clinic 554 also provides pre- and post-natal care to people without family doctors and opiate agonist therapy for people with addictions. Its closure will mean one less family doctor in New Brunswick, leaving a massive hole in the medical treatments available in the community and the entire province.’’
We ask you to join us in letting both the provincial and federal governments know how unacceptable it is to limit reproductive care. We are dismayed at the short-sightedness of this decision.
Broadening the Scope of Practice for Midwives Would Reduce Barriers and Stigma Around Reproductive Health
In Canada, most midwives are already providing a full spectrum of choices around reproductive health, including prescribing birth control, inserting IUDs, and providing pre/post-natal care. Expanding their scope of practice to prescribe Mifegymiso would reduce stigma and some barriers Canadians face when trying to access abortion services. (For more information on Mifegymiso: https://www.actioncanadashr.org/resources/factsheets-guidelines/2019-04-06-faq-abortion-pill-mifegymiso)
Midwives’ dedication to their client-centred approach and continuity of care – and the fact that they are already in place, providing services in rural and urban areas – makes them perfect providers to deliver abortion care. Midwives are healthcare professionals trained to provide the right care at the right time. Expanding their services would improve reproductive health care for all!
Dr. Adrian Edgar, Medical Director of Clinic 554 said, “I’m sick of New Brunswick abandoning pregnant patients in their time of need. I can’t believe that our Premier won’t do anything to bring this province in line with the Canada Health Act. We’re living in a state of legislated misogyny that should horrify every Canadian and every candidate in this election. ”
If you share our concerns, please take action! Follow this link to tweet or email your concerns to your federal leader. (https://secure.actioncanadashr.org/party-leaders-access)
If you share our concern, please take action! Ask our federal leaders what they will do about abortion and sexual health services access on October 22. Follow this link to tweet or email your concerns to your federal leader. (https://secure.actioncanadashr.org/party-leaders-access)
President, Canadian Association of Midwives