New Brunswick's health minister claims that the new permissive abortion regulations that took effect January 1 will cost taxpayers an extra $500,000 a year, but the real cost increase may be three times that amount according to an estimate by NB Right to Life.
The regulations introduced by the Liberal government of Premier Brian Gallant include the provisions that:
- obtaining an abortion will no longer require two doctors certifying that it is “medically required.”
- abortion can now be performed by any doctor, not only a specialist.
- abortion will now be tax-funded since it will be put “in the same category as any insured medical service.”
- abortions must still be performed in hospitals.
Health Minister Victor Boudreau said he doesn't expect the total number of abortions to rise as a result the new regulations, and that increased access to publicly funded abortions is expected to cost the province between $500,000 and $700,000 more per year.
However, New Brunswick Right to Life disputes both claims, saying making abortion available on demand and free will inevitably lead to much higher rates, and that the minister's estimate is based solely on the cost of additional operating room time, but does not take into account the expenses of added operating room staff as well as expenses associated with post-abortion complications and longer term physical and psychological complications.
NB Right to Life points out that the revised abortion regulations leave many unanswered questions, including that if abortions will be done on demand, why are they not considered electives like other procedures done on the basis of patient wishes?
And if there is no requirement for a doctor to establish medical necessity, why are taxpayers paying for a procedure that is not medically necessary?
“The health minister says he does not expect a spike in the total number of abortions performed in New Brunswick (about 1,000 / year in the past). But when previously 60% of abortions were paid privately (@ $500-800 each), and now all abortions will be free, is it not to be expected that abortion numbers will rise – toward the higher rates seen in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and other provinces without the type of restrictions NB has had?” the pro-life group said.
“NB Right to Life estimates that the additional costs will easily be in the $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 range, and the total abortion costs for Medicare will be at least in the $2,000,000-$3,000,000 range (new costs plus current costs),” the group states.
While abortion activists are hailing the enactment of the new regulations as a victory for the “right to choose” some are still not satisfied and lament that “access” is still not “easy.”
The executive director of the pro-abortion Regroupement Féministe du Nouveau Brunswick, Amely Friolet-O’Neil, said that accessing abortion by going to either of the two hospitals that commit abortions, the Dr. Georges L Dumont Regional Hospital in Moncton and the Bathurst Chaleur Regional Hospital, both managed by the francophone Vitalité Health Network, is too much to ask of women wishing to abort their children.
“If, let’s say, you’re a woman in Edmunston, you will have to drive about three hours to be able to have that initial consultation,” said Friolet-O’Neil told Global News.
Peter Ryan, executive director of NB Right to Life, explained to LifeSiteNews that the abortion process under the new regs now involves two steps over three weeks: first consulting a doctor, then having the abortion surgery.
“We note the francophone health network (four regional hospitals) does not plan, at least for the time being, to expand abortions beyond two of its hospitals. But we are dismayed that women seeking an abortion in Moncton or Bathurst can now just call up a 1-800 # and get an appointment; no need to go through a family doctor. That will expedite abortions and drive up numbers,” Ryan said.
“In the Anglophone sector (4 regional hospitals), which has not done abortions in the last few years,” he continued, “we are dismayed by news they will start to do them in April. We are waiting to see which hospitals will be involved.”
Ryan stressed that in the long run, it can be expected that “so-called access” will be expanded and facilitated all over the province.
“The machinery of death will put in place and tend to do its deadly business,” Ryan said. “Of course if any obstacles are experienced the government has a fall-back option: fund a free-standing clinic, where, unlike the hospitals, there is no competition with other types of surgery for precious operating room. The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton sits idle now, but for how long?”
“In the past,” Ryan concluded, “pro-life attention has been focused mainly on the Morgentaler Clinic. In the immediate future, our attention will shift to the hospital scene. I am worried the Saint John Hospital, which has never had abortion on demand due to the community's long-time pro-life culture, will be targeted for that.”