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Greens won’t support throne speech unless Fredericton abortion clinic receives funding

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Elizabeth May says the support of the Green Party for Thursday’s throne speech is contingent on climate action and funding for the only private abortion clinic in Fredericton.

Clinic 554 is a family practice that is at risk of closing without provincial funding.

“We haven’t conferred on this but yes,” Elizabeth May said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“That and climate action. We said we will not vote a single vote for the Trudeau administration without a commitment to a climate plan that aligns with the advice of the scientific community.”

READ MORE: Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy 

In October, the clinic announced that it was up for sale due to financial instability.

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Dr. Adrian Edgar, medical director of Clinic 554, said one of the reasons for the closure was New Brunswick’s “refusal to fund health-care equality” and that the province “unilaterally refuses” to allow medicare to cover the cost of a patient who comes to him for an abortion procedure.

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Jagmeet Singh calls on Trudeau to act on closure of New Brunswick abortion clinic

It’s a stance held by New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs’ Progressive Conservative government and the Liberals that governed before them.

The fight for funding received national attention during the federal election when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would remind Higgs that his province has an obligation to fund out-of-hospital abortions or risk having Ottawa enforce such requirements under the Canada Health Act.

On Wednesday the press secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office said that the Liberal government will “ensure that the New Brunswick government allows paid-for access, to clinics that offer abortion services outside of hospitals.”

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“Our government has been clear that women have a right to access reproductive services,” said Matt Pascuzzo.

“We will use all options available to defend a woman’s right to choose, including those that exist under the Canada Health Act.”

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Although health advocates have attempted to pressure the provincial government to reverse its policy, they have so far been unsuccessful.

May now appears to be suggesting that the federal government should take an active role in the dispute.

It’s a nod to one of the two other Green MPs that will join May in the legislature.

Jenica Atwin is the MP for Fredericton, who became the first Green MP elected in Atlantic Canada in the 2019 election.

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READ MORE: Horizon Health throws its support behind Clinic 554 to save it from closing

NDP Leader in Fredericton this weekend to support Clinic 554

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said on Wednesday that the prime minister has a role in enforcing the Canada Health Act and pressuring New Brunswick to help fund Clinic 554.

“I believe very strongly that what is happening in Fredericton, the closing of this clinic and the lack of funding for this clinic, contravenes the health act. That is wrong,” Singh said.

Click to play video 'Advocates pressuring province to ensure abortion clinic in Fredericton remains open' Advocates pressuring province to ensure abortion clinic in Fredericton remains open
Advocates pressuring province to ensure abortion clinic in Fredericton remains open

He said he wants the prime minister to deliver on his promise made during the campaign.

Singh said he will be in Fredericton this weekend, where he said he’ll show support for Clinic 554.

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With files from The Canadian Press