FREDERICTON, NB, April 28, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – New Brunswick's Liberals have changed their longstanding policy not to fund abortions in private facilities at their weekend policy convention, turning their backs on former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna's insistence that taxpayers not be compelled to fund such procedures.
The party adopted two policy resolutions calling for “access to a full range of publicly funded family planning information and services” and to “improve access to reproductive health services that meet national standards and respect the Canada Health Act.”
“This is a clear signal that the party's moving beyond the position it's held in the past,” Liberal member Wendy Robbins, who helped draft the resolutions, told the CBC.
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.”
Recently, the Morgentaler abortion facility announced that it will be closing its doors in July, because it is not making enough money,.
It has also dropped its long-standing lawsuit against the Province of New Brunswick seeking full funding, citing the same financial woes.
New Brunswick Health Minister Hugh Flemming issued a statement regarding the closure of the Morgentaler clinic indicating that the province will not change its policy on denying funds to private abortion clinics. “Women will continue to have access to medically-necessary abortions in the province with the approval of two physicians,” he said.
Peter Ryan, executive director of New Brunswick Right to Life, said that the Liberals, with only 13 seats in opposition to the ruling Progressive Conservative (PC) government, may have chosen the wrong policy direction if they hope for better results in the September elections.
“I'm not sure at all that it's a winner for the Liberals to really separate themselves from the views of grass roots New Brunswickers, which according to polling shows that 70 percent are opposed to tax-funded abortion-on-demand. So, the Liberals are catering to a rather vocal minority that is represented by the media and some voices from the university community, and not representative of how New Brunswickers really see the issue,” Ryan told LifeSiteNews.
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“It will be interesting to see if there is some kind of fallout amongst rank-and-file Liberals who are pro-life,” Ryan said. “I've spoken to some who are deeply upset, to the point of wondering how to vote, at this reversal of what they assumed was policy that had been in place for so many years.”
“It's very disappointing that the party of Frank McKenna and Shawn Graham, which stood very clearly against the Morgentaler clinic funding, has now, through these resolutions, caved in to abortion rights activism,” Ryan said.
“It remains to be seen whether the party leader will formally embrace that or not,” he said. “He certainly has been moving in that direction with all his published comments.”
Readers may contact all New Brunswick MLAs here.