July 25, 2014 3:37 pm
Updated: July 28, 2014 8:12 am

Medical society calls for clarification of N.B. abortion policy


FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick Medical Society is calling on the government to clarify what it means to have two doctors sign off on an abortion.

In New Brunswick, regulation 84-20 requires abortions to be performed by specialists at approved hospitals and only after a woman gets approval from two doctors certifying that it is medically necessary.

But which ones?

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“So, a patient comes to a family physician with a problem, with an issue that needs specialty care. And what we do, we refer them to a specialist and the specialist will look after their problem. So that in essence, that’s two doctors involved. It’s not two doctors, then a specialist,” said Dr. Camille Heddad, President-elect of the New Brunswick Medical Society.

Many in the province say the wording is ambiguous. The legislation also states the abortion must be medically necessary. But what does that mean?

“If the woman’s life is not in danger, is it medically necessary? Not from the woman’s point of view from physical health, but what about emotional, stress, social, financial?” said Heddad.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, medically necessary means the procedure has to be performed by a trained physician.

“Taxpayers dollars are funding abortions in this province, it’s just that we’re paying twice too much,” said Wendy Robbins, an advocate for women’s rights. “We have all this red tape and bureaucracy and require it to be done in a hospital by a specialist, and so we’re paying between $1,700-$2,000 for every abortion in a hospital. In a clinic it’s less then half that.”

The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton closed in mid July.

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