New Brunswick

Morgentaler clinic could be leased through crowdsourcing

A reproductive rights group has launched a crowdsourcing campaign in hopes of saving the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton, which is slated to close on July 18.

Reproductive Justice hopes to raise $100K to lease Fredericton clinic, slated to close July 18

A reproductive rights group has launched a crowd-sourcing campaign in hopes of raising $100,000 to lease the Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton.

Kathleen Pye and Simone Lebovitch discuss Reproductive Justice's crowdsourcing campaign for the Mortgentaler clinic in Fredericton. (CBC)
The private abortion facility — the only one in the Maritimes — is slated to close on July 18, following a 20-year fight with the provincial government over funding.

But Reproductive Justice New Brunswick wants to help the managers keep leasing the building.

It's a "Band-Aid solution," chairperson Kathleen Pye said during a news conference on Friday.

"We're in a crisis situation and unfortunately we have to step up and do the work that the province really should be doing," she said.

Securing a lease won't guarantee keeping the clinic open, but it would keep the building and its facilities in the centre's name for the time being, said Pye.

Meanwhile, the group will continue looking for more practitioners for the clinic, she said.

Clinic manager Simone Lebovitch says they also plan to continue to lobby the provincial government to change its regulations.

The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, the only private abortion clinic in the Maritimes, is slated to close on July 18. (CBC)
As it stands, the government only pays for abortions at two hospitals, and only if a woman gets approval from two doctors who certify the procedure is “medically necessary.”

The Department of Health refuses to cover abortions performed at the Fredericton clinic, making it the only province in Canada with a private abortion clinic that isn't funded by medicare.

The current fee for the procedure is $700 before 14 weeks of pregnancy, and $850 between 14 and 16 weeks.

"We're working, looking for the province of New Brunswick to repeal this restrictive legislation so that women here are treated in the same respect and with the same dignity as they are across Canada," said Lebovitch.

Decisions about how the Morgentaler clinic could continue to operate will be made if the funding goal is reached by August, officials said.

If Reproductive Justice is unable to raise the full $100,000, all money raised will go toward renewed efforts to overturn the Medical Services Payment Act.

The group is accepting donations online.

The Morgentaler clinic has provided abortion services to more than 10,000 women since it opened in June 1994.

Its pending closure was announced in April.