Recently elected Premier Brian Gallant: "We have identified the barriers and are proceeding to eliminate them in order to respect our legal obligations under the Supreme Court of Canada ruling and the Canada Health Act regarding a woman's right to choose."
Gallant, pictured, having earned every inch of that smirk.
Those barriers specifically refer to Regulation 84-20, which requires two doctors to verify the abortion as medically necessary and also requires the procedure to be done by a specialist. Though the "so-called two-doctor rule" is uncharacteristic to Canada's otherwise relaxed abortion regulations, they have "been in place for two decades, supported by previous Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments." The current Liberal government in New Brunswick approved the changes "by consensus" as the requirements were writ in regulations.
While abortions will still have to be done in hospitals, the goal of improved access to the procedure will start with the Department of Health to "increase capacity and improve timeliness to access to abortion services." The changes will go into effect January 1, 2015.
Gallant via a statement: "As a province, we have a responsibility to respect women's rights and our legal obligations by providing this procedure in a safe environment like any other insured service under Medicare."
Gallant hadn't intended to make history, but that certainly seems to be the outcome. Anti-choice activist Peter Ryan, unaware that strict regulations do not actually stop women from needing and having abortions, says he feels "the majority of New Brunswickers supported the previous rules governing abortion in the province." Considering the NB Liberals were voted in with a majority – almost a true majority at 42.73% - with a leader championing abortion regulation reform as part of his platform, it would appear the people have spoken.