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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Trudeau says Ottawa withholding health-care transfers to N.B. over abortion access

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MONCTON, N.B — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is withholding health-care transfers to New Brunswick because the province is limiting access to abortion.

Trudeau told reporters in Moncton, N.B., today the New Brunswick government has not lived up to its obligations under the Canada Health Act because it continues to make it difficult for women to access the full range of reproductive services.

New Brunswick law bans government funding for abortions conducted outside three approved hospitals.

The provincial government subsidizes abortions at two hospitals in Moncton and one in Bathurst, but it won’t cover the cost of the procedure at Clinic 554 in Fredericton.

Trudeau says his government will work to ensure everyone in the country has access to abortion, including at Clinic 554.

The prime minister initially said Ottawa was holding back millions of dollars in health-care transfers to New Brunswick, but a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office said after the news conference that the correct figure is $140,216.

A New Brunswick judge in June authorized a national civil liberties group to mount a legal challenge to the province’s abortion law. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says the law limits access to abortions, particularly for poor and marginalized people.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2021.

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