FREDERICTON, New Brunswick, May 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Advocates for more abortion access at taxpayers' expense in New Brunswick have lost another round in their campaign to get public funding for the privately owned Morgentaler abortion facility.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Paulette Garnett has ruled the New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board cannot conduct a hearing into a complaint to the province's human rights commission by a doctor identified only as AA. AA claimed that the province's abortion funding laws prevented her from providing proper medical care to her patients and discriminated against her as a female physician.
Unlike all other provinces in Canada, New Brunswick limits public funding to abortions that are committed in hospitals, which require a referral from two doctors who must deem the abortion “medically necessary.” The province will not fund the procedure in a private clinic.
In her ruling last week, Justice Garnett said that the complaint lacked sufficient evidence showing difficulty in obtaining an abortion in the province.
The judge also ruled that since the doctor was complaining on behalf of women seeking abortion and not on her own behalf, she lacked standing to make the complaint.
The unidentified doctor launched a complaint to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission in 2008 saying that she was “directly discriminated against, as a female family physician, on the basis of sex, as a result of procedural hoops she must navigate to obtain access to provincially funded abortions for her patients.”
She argued she was “censored” by the province’s laws on access to publicly funded abortions, which “requires her to depart from the established standard of care of a physician.”
“The fact she is female and providing sexual health care singles her out for negative treatment in the context of this restrictive regulatory regime,” the doctor’s lawyers argued in the complaint.
When the human rights commission announced that it would launch an inquiry, the New Brunswick government and its Ministry of Health fought to have the complaint dismissed.
However, the province’s Labour Employment Board, which handles inquiries into complaints made to the human rights commission, ruled that the complaint could proceed.
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The government appealed that decision to the Court of Queen’s Bench.
Lawyers for the province argued at the court hearing held last December that the complaint should be quashed because the doctor herself wasn't affected by the province’s abortion laws.
“The physician does not receive the service in question. She is not seeking access to that service. She is not suggesting that she has not received equal benefit of that service,” the province’s lawyer, Krista Colford told the court in Fredericton, according to a report in the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. “Rather her allegation of being aggrieved is a result of the professional anxieties that she receives as a doctor in helping her patients navigate the [regulations].”
Pro-life advocates have pointed out that abortion-on-demand is readily available in New Brunswick, despite the policy theoretically restricting abortions to those that are “medically necessary.”
“It’s really fraudulent what’s going on,” said Peter Ryan of New Brunswisk Right to Life since abortions in the province are readily available. “Doctors are defrauding the Medicare system by reporting that these cases are medically necessary when everybody knows they are not.”
The New Brunswick government continues to defend its policy of not funding arch-abortionist Henry Morgentaler's private abortion clinic, despite a decade-long challenge by abortion advocates that is still before the courts.
“Morgentaler is not going to stop until he gets what he wants,” commented Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition. “Fortunately the New Brunswick government’s been standing firm for many years and we’re very happy that they have.”