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Morgentaler clinic in Fredericton closing after operating at a loss

FREDERICTON – The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton will close at the end of July after 20 years of providing abortions in the city because it is losing money.

The clinic says women have been unable to pay for the procedure and its revenues have never met expenses.

It says it cannot continue to provide services that are not publicly funded.

The facility’s manager says the move will restrict the rights of women in New Brunswick seeking abortions.

Simone Leibovitch says the clinic has been providing abortions even though it has lost about $100,000 over the last decade.

But Leibovitch says the clinic cannot continue to offer procedures that are not publicly funded.

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Abortion isn’t covered by medicare in New Brunswick unless two doctors certify in writing that it is medically necessary and is performed by a specialist in an approved hospital.

Leibovitch says the provincial government needs to repeal that regulation, calling it a barrier to health care.

The New Brunswick government issued a brief statement reaffirming that women will continue to have access to medically-necessary abortions.

But it declined further comment, saying the matter is before the courts.

The Morgentaler clinic charged between $700 and $850 for the procedure, depending on how far along a woman is in her pregnancy.

In 2002, Dr. Henry Morgentaler launched a lawsuit in a bid to force the provincial government to pay for the procedure.

The case has been in limbo since Morgentaler died last May.

NB Liberals call for an independent review

The Alward government said in the legislature Thursday that they can’t comment much on the closure of the clinic, because of the lawsuit.

WATCH: Global’s Laura Brown gets political reaction the the shut down of the clinic.

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “Women will continue to have access to medically-necessary abortions in the province with the approval of two physicians.” 

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The Leader of the New Brunswick Liberals says he’d like to cooperate with Alward’s government on an independent review.

“I think it’s an opportune time for us to really look at this in depth and fully understand the barriers that are out there, and how we address them,” Brian Gallant said. “I believe people have the right to their own personal opinion but at the same time there is a constitutional obligation for us to fulfill.”

With files from Global’s Laura Brown and Emily Baron Cadloff