New Brunswick decided private abortion clinic’s bottom line is not a priority for Canadian province

By We Need a Law

The Progressive Conservatives’ majority win is good news for the health needs of the citizens of New Brunswick. During the election, abortion activists drew a lot of attention to Clinic 554, which is seeking government funding for privately done abortions. 

This push was led by the owner of Clinic 554, a man directly set to profit from any funding. “This activism was never about the health needs of the province, but about pushing to fund more abortions,” said Tabitha Ewert, legal counsel for pro-life organization We Need a Law. “We are thankful to see that New Brunswick voters did not accept this private clinic’s claim that abortion should be top priority for healthcare spending.”  

“We hope to see Premier Higgs remain firm in his government’s decision not to fund privately performed abortions despite pressure from the owner.” Ewert continued. “Likely that pressure will not end as the owner has lobbied for both the federal government and the courts to interfere in a matter that is constitutionally under the provincial government’s jurisdiction.”

The owner of Clinic 554 claims to be pursuing a lawsuit against the provincial government under the Canada Health Act. But that piece of federal legislation is designed to give financial assistance to the provinces, not to regulate provincial healthcare. This has been consistently affirmed by Canadian courts. 

“The provinces decide how to administer healthcare. Just because the owner of Clinic 554 has been unsuccessful in getting this government to fund the abortions he performs does not justify other authorities interfering.”

Ewert concluded, “The decision to prioritize other health needs over more abortions was presented to the voters of New Brunswick, and the results go against the financial interests of Clinic 554. That decision should be respected.”

We Need a Law has published a Position Paper clarifying the role of the Canada Health Act on the decision to fund private abortion clinics, including references to relevant Canadian court decisions. The paper can be accessed here.