New Brunswick Doctor Contests Restrictive Abortion Laws

by | July 3, 2011
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, Politics

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According to N.B.’s The Daily Gleaner:

A female physician in New Brunswick says the province’s abortion laws hinder her ability to care for patients with unwanted pregnancies and discriminate against her based on sex.

In a complaint filed with the Human Rights Commission set to proceed to a full hearing with a board of inquiry, the doctor argues that complying with New Brunswick’s Medical Services Payment Act forces her to depart from standard medical guidelines.


The doctor, who can’t be named because the identity of all complainants to the Human Rights Commission is confidential, said the rules around funding abortions in New Brunswick make her feel censored without “the ability to do her job as a physician properly for patients with an unattended pregnancy.”

The doctor also argues that being “female and providing sexual health care singles her out for negative treatment in the context of this restrictive regulatory regime.”

She said she feels discriminated against because of the procedural hoops she must jump through to obtain access to provincially funded abortions for her patients.

The physician also argued the act discriminates against women seeking abortions and claimed the province’s restrictive rules do psychological harm to patients.

The 1988 Supreme Court decision which struck down Canada’a old anti-abortion law ruled that accessible abortion was the right of women under the Charter in order to protect their liberty, bodily security, and conscience.

Despite this, New Brunswick will only fund abortions when it is deemed “medically necessary” and approved by two physicians, and only if performed in a hospital, barriers that make obtaining the procedure much more difficult and possibly more intimidating for women.

Read the full Daily Gleaner story here, and a related story at the CBC here.


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