2 ex-Liberal MLAs are uneasy with party's new abortion stance
Jane Barry and Al Kavanaugh attended an anti-abortion rally in Fredericton
Some former Liberal MLAs from the Frank McKenna era say they are uncomfortable with their party's new stand on access to abortion.
Jane Barry, a former Saint John MLA and cabinet minister, and Al Kavanaugh, a former Riverview MLA, attended an anti-abortion rally, which was organized by New Brunswick Right to Life, at the legislature on Thursday.
The two retired politicians say they are not sure how Liberal Leader Brian Gallant's position on abortion will affect the party in the provincial election in September.
Gallant has called for a review of the provincial government’s restrictive abortion policy in light of the Morgentaler clinic’s decision to close its Fredericton facility in July.
Grassroots Liberals passed two resolutions at a policy convention in April that called for greater access to abortion in New Brunswick hospitals.
Barry said she would have attended the April policy convention if she had known Liberal delegates would adopt stronger abortion-rights policies. She said she would have argued against them.
"In hindsight, had I known it was going to become a topic of discussion and the topic of a resolution, I certainly would have been prepared to go and voice my opinion, so I'm doing it today instead,” she said at the protest.
Kavanagh said he feels disenfranchised by the party's new position and he said it could affect how anti-abortion Liberals vote in this year's election.
He said he will still “probably” vote for the Liberals, but he added: “I think about it a lot."
Kavanagh and Barry say people will vote on more than one issue but it's clear not all Liberals are enthusiastic about where the party is going on this issue.
The Progressive Conservatives have not wavered in their support for the existing policy.
Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Jody Carr told the protesters on Thursday that the Tories are the only party that will maintain the existing "medically necessary" abortion policy.
New Brunswick requires that two doctors agree an abortion is medically necessary and that it be performed by a gynecologist in a hospital setting.