Premier Blaine Higgs
Friday, October 25, 2019
Dear Premier Higgs,
My name is Linda MacNeil and I am the Atlantic Regional Director for Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector representing 315,000 members, including more than 7,500 workers in New Brunswick.
I am writing today to express our concerns regarding the possible closure of Clinic 554 in Fredericton. As you know, this clinic provides valuable services to the people of New Brunswick particularly for women and the LGBTQ2 community. This clinic provides publicly funded procedures beyond abortion, these services include Trans health care, HIV/AIDS treatment and methadone access. The closure of Clinic 554 would severely impact accessibility of health care for some of the most marginalized communities in New Brunswick.
I would think your government would be proud of the work that is done at Clinic 554, after all, it has won awards for its work. However that doesn’t seem the case since your government is proposing to close its doors.
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s unconstitutional abortion law in 1988 that placed considerable restrictions on abortion access. Women and Trans patients have since had the right to access a safe procedure. By limiting funding to surgical abortions to hospitals, New Brunswick is flouting its obligations under the Canada Health Act and is discriminating on the basis of sex. Thousands of New Brunswick women and transgender patients are being penalized by the refusal to fund legitimate health care procedures at Clinic 554.
As the Atlantic Regional Director for Unifor, I have witnessed the range of health care services available to women and transgender patients across Canada. New Brunswick is falling far short of providing access to a legal and safe procedure and this is totally unacceptable.
I implore you, Premier Higgs, to step up and do the right thing for the people of your province and rescind the province’s illegal regulation and start funding surgical abortions at Clinic 554 immediately.
I would be more than willing to meet with you to discuss personally but I think this letter should be clear on our position but in any case I am available at any time to discuss this further with you.
Unifor Atlantic Regional Director