The provincial election is fast approaching, and there are many issues that groups in New Brunswick hope will be addressed. Access to abortion is one of those issues, and it will be pushed to the forefront this Saturday with a national event.
Sept. 20 is the National Day of Action for Reproductive Justice. Just two days before the New Brunswick provincial election, there will be rallies held all over Canada to raise awareness of reproductive justice.
“The theme of this year is equality now, equal access now,” said Jessica Dobson, the UNBSU’s women’s representative.
The National Day of Action event on Facebook centres around the closure of the Morgentaler Clinic. The clinic, which closed in July, provided abortion services to women in both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
New Brunswick currently requires the consent of two medical doctors before a woman may receive an abortion at a hospital. The Morgentaler Clinic closed down due to a lack of government funding.
“I hope we will plan some similar events and an awareness week,” said Dobson. “I think it’s fantastic. We need events like this to raise awareness of and bring attention to unequal services.”
Dobson wants more unbiased information on sexual and reproductive health and access to contraceptives in order to help.
“It’s not just about abortion, it’s about all issues,” said Dobson.
Jaden Fitzherbert, a UNB alumna, is a volunteer with Reproductive Justice New Brunswick. She will be helping out on the National Day of Action for Reproductive Rights as much as possible.
“As someone who doesn’t want children, it’s so annoying when that role is pushed on me, just as a woman, by my family and by strangers,” said Fitzherbert. “So it’s one of the most important things that I am an activist for.”
Reproductive Justice New Brunswick has been an active presence in encouraging everyone, including students, to vote in the upcoming election. Their members want a political party who is pro-choice to begin to make changes.
Some members even went to attend the official campaign launch for Brian Gallant to encourage Liberal promises of access to abortion.
“We were told that if we had our signs that we couldn’t go in,” said Fitzherbert. “We sent a couple people in without signs and stuck stickers all over their bodies, and the rest of us stood outside.”
While the group was not allowed into the campaign launch, they still see it as an opportunity to raise more awareness of the upcoming Day of Action, and to encourage students and youth especially to get involved.
“If you do attend, it will be a great way to learn about what’s going on. If you don’t necessarily know and if you’re not from New Brunswick, it’s a great way … to see how you can help out,” said Fitzherbert.