Fredericton — On Thursday the medical director of Clinic 554, New Brunswick’s only private abortion clinic, announced that the clinic is up for sale and will close if the province continues its refusal to cover out-of-hospital abortions.
Now, women in New Brunswick can only get a safe, legal — and Medicare-covered — abortion at the two hospitals in Moncton and the hospital in Bathurst. Clinic 554’s director said that because they cannot continue to absorb the costs themselves, the medical centre will be forced to shut down.
And with that closure at hand, a surprising group is more upset than even those who rely on the clinic: pro-lifers. This diverse medley of bored retirees, religious zealots and men are livid because now they have no one left to harass.
“Huh. Well I guess we could go picket outside schools for teaching evolution and sex-ed…or we could go paint over the rainbow crosswalk in front of city hall…but those acts don’t really have the same appeal as yelling at a woman going through one of the worst moments of her life and shoving gruesome posters in her face,” Rita Allen, 62, told our reporter.
“I’m retired and I don’t have much to do through the week — I guess I spent hours making all these new signs for nothing!” she exclaimed, waving a stack of Bristol board posters splattered with red paint and simplistic slogans. “Thanks a lot, government!”
Others in the same boat as Allen say they can’t physically get to Moncton or Bathurst to accost the women there.
“I don’t have much money or a car, and public transportation in New Brunswick is abysmal,” whined Geraldine Burtt, 54. “I always looked forward to a nice walk down to the abortion clinic — especially this time of year, when the weather’s so balmy — to holler rude things at young women I’ve never met.
“It’s really thoughtless of the province to rob me of one of my few pleasures in life.”
Forty-nine-year-old Bob Gerard, another frequent protester, said he likewise can’t make it to Moncton or Bathurst, and he doesn’t know what he’ll do with himself when the clinic shuts down.
“Transportation to protest sites is a necessary service!” he fumed. “Leave it to the government not to cover things taxpayers need. I feel it’s my responsibility — no, my calling — to get up in women’s faces and make a hard choice even harder for them, but now it’s hard for me! And what am I supposed to get all worked up over if not women’s bodies and pregnancies?
“So, maybe we could go outside the liquor store and shame people for buying booze?” he mused. “I know it’s not ideal, but as long as we’re aggressively imposing our moral stances on others whose lives we know nothing about…then we’re still doing the Lord’s work, right?”
Blaine Higgs’s Conservatives will not endorse the pro-lifers’ actions, but in a written statement the Premier’s Office said that they could probably be convinced to “turn a blind eye” if protesters were to instead deface Liberal election signs or badger Liberal politicians.