Despite repeatedly getting spanked by provincial courts, apparently New Brunswick’s provincial government STILL fears women’s reproductive freedom enough to consider taking Dr. Henry Morgentaler’s 7-year-old lawsuit over public funding of private clinic abortions in the province all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada:
The New Brunswick government is reviewing the latest Court of Appeal ruling that cleared the way for Dr. Henry Morgentaler to sue the province over its refusal to fund abortions performed at his clinic in Fredericton.
The government has argued it only has to pay for abortions approved by two physicians and performed in hospitals.
Attorney General T.J. Burke told reporters on Friday that his staff will use the next 30 days to decide whether they will seek leave to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
“Our office will review the procedural decision made by the Court of Appeal to determine whether there’s any palpable or overriding errors in law and determine whether or not we should appeal,” Burke said.
Morgentaler wants medicare to cover the $750 fee for abortions performed at his clinic, which currently are paid for by the patients themselves.
The province argued Morgentaler couldn’t sue on the issue because it affects women, not him. In January, after a Court of Queen’s Bench judge ruled in Morgentaler’s favour, the province appealed the decision.
On Thursday, three appeal judges also ruled in Morgentaler’s favour. The province had argued it would be better if the lawsuit was launched by a woman who had been forced to pay for a clinic abortion.
Chief Justice Ernest Drapeau said that argument doesn’t pass muster. None of the many women who have had abortions at Morgentaler’s Fredericton clinic in the past 15 years has come forward to file a lawsuit, he noted.
Gee, wonder if the consideration of yet another appeal reflects the personal anti-choice zealotry of New Brunswick’s Health Minister?
New Brunswick’s health minister says his personal view on when life begins makes him “not entirely” comfortable administering the province’s laws and policies on abortion.
Michael Murphy was among several Liberal and Progressive Conservative MLAs who attended an anti-abortion rally [!] in front of the legislative assembly on Thursday.
Murphy told the crowd of more than 300 that he believes life begins at conception.
“It is my own personal belief that the unborn, at any stage, is human life, and I believe in human life, and I support it,” Murphy said.
That personal view is at odds with provincial regulations that allow abortions in hospitals, he said.
Medicare funds abortions in hospitals if two doctors agree the procedure is medically necessary.
When asked, Murphy admitted his personal beliefs do not make him comfortable in administering some of his duties as health minister.
“Not entirely, but that’s the way it is,” he said.
Plus, y’know, Morgentaler might keel over soon — and that means EPIC WIN FOR TEH INNOCENT BABIES!
Peggy Cooke, who works at the [Morgentaler] clinic, hopes the province will stop stalling the legal process.
“So I think they’re kind of waiting for him to give up and waiting for him to be incapable of doing it anymore,” she said.
Morgentaler is 86 years old and there have been reports his health has been declining.
Morgentaler’s name is on the lawsuit. His death would force another plaintiff to restart the legal process.
Also, with regards to the province’s oft-refuted contention that a woman should have initially tendered the suit, Cooke once again layeth the smacketh down:
As Cooke points out, the reason Morgentaler is suing is because no woman has been willing to take on the provincial government.
“There’s so much stigma with abortion, and secondly the money is a huge problem. It costs thousands and thousands of dollars to do this,” Cooke said.
Yeah, because, um, if one doesn’t have a spare $750 to terminate their pregnancy it’s highly unlikely they’ll have several grand kicking around to take the freakin’ government to court over said $750.
Oh, and speaking of that oh-so-contentious procedural cost and the public purse, deBeauxO nails it in comments @ DAMMIT JANET (h/t):
Before the shrieeeking starts about the cost of this medical intervention, it’s important to to note that root canals can cost over $1000.
Also, the New Brunswick government is running up quite a legal tab by refusing to accept the judgement of its own courts. Taxpayers will be footing that bill.
Women’s health and bodily autonomy? The law of the land (as confirmed by TWO provincial courts)? The proper allocation and utilization of taxpayer dollars?
Pshh. Wevs. Clearly New Brunswick stubbornly and steadfastly serves a HIGHER power.