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New Brunswick maintains position on abortions as Ottawa threatens penalties

Federal health minister says New Brunswick has to change policy on out of hospital abortions
WATCH: Patty Hajdu is giving New Brunswick until the end of next month to change its policy on funding out of hospital abortions. As Silas Brown reports, if the province doesn’t comply some federal health transfers would be withheld.

The New Brunswick government is standing firm on its position that it’s not violating the Canada Health Act by refusing to fund out-of-hospital abortions in the province.

New Brunswick Health Department spokesman Bruce Macfarlane says the province is meeting its requirements under the act and is working with Ottawa to address federal concerns.

READ MORE: Trudeau speaks with Premier Higgs about potential Fredericton abortion clinic closure

Owner of Clinic 554 still looking for buyer
Owner of Clinic 554 still looking for buyer

The comment comes after federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu tabled a report in the House of Commons this week that says any patient charges for surgical abortions would be considered extra-billing and user charges under the act and would result in penalties.

Hajdu has written to New Brunswick to state that position.

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Last fall Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would remind Premier Blaine Higgs that his province has an obligation to fund out-of-hospital abortions or risk having Ottawa enforce such requirements under the act.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh visited Fredericton in support of abortion clinic
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh visited Fredericton in support of abortion clinic

New Brunswick provides abortion services at two hospitals in Moncton and one in Bathurst, but it has refused to pay for the procedure at Clinic 554 – a private facility in Fredericton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2020.