New Brunswick Being Sued Over Abortion Access

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has launched litigation to fight for abortion access in New Brunswick. This follows the province restricting access to abortion services and aims for New Brunswick to fund those abortion services in private clincs. 

On October 14, the CCLA issued a formal letter stating that they would be taking the province to court if they did not improve access to abortion services. With the recent closure of Clinic 554, and in response to regulation 84-20, New Brunswick now has no out-of-hospital abortion clinics. 

The CCLA stated that the removal of out-of-hospital abortion services has made this a federal issue, as it is criminalizing abortion and is, therefore, out of the province’s jurisdiction. 

Premier Higgs has not yet made a statement regarding this lawsuit. 

COVID-19 Numbers Soar Following Holidays

New Brunswick has seen a surge of cases in the new year, with multiple record breaking days since the first of the year, resulting in a shift to Orange phase. Zone 3, the Fredericton region, currently has the highest number of cases, with Zone 1, the Moncton region, following closely behind. 

These cases come from a combination of holiday gatherings and travel related cases, and has seen outbreaks at several schools and long-term care facilities throughout the province. 

Dr. Jennifer Russell explained that the clusters in Zones 1 and 3 are the result of individuals attending holiday gatherings while symptomatic.

“We are not in a good place in terms of the direction that things are going right now, so I am concerned. I am concerned about the cooperation of the public right now,” Dr. Russell said on January 4.

She explained the severity of the situation, explaining that this is the worst scenario that New Brunswick has been in so far, in regard to the pandemic, as it is spread all over the province. She addressed rumours that the province would be entering the Red phase, stating that it is not currently planned, but that it is not impossible. 

“I have no doubt in my mind that if Red is required, it will happen,” she said. “We just know that the ramifications of going to Red in terms of what we saw with the first wave were quite negative in terms of unintended consequences and negative outcomes.”

On January 9, Woodstock announced cases at Woodstock High School and Townsview School, with Public Health asking all students and staff to self-isolate pending test results. Townsview School reported one positive case, and Woodstock High School indicated multiple cases, but did not specify an exact number.

“If you don’t care about yourself, please care about others,” Premier Higgs said on January 5. “We are indeed talking life and death at this time.”