Fredericton residents looking for a family doctor are in luck. A new practice has opened up on Brunswick Street and is now accepting patients.
Clinic 554 is hardly a week old and has received plenty of media attention. The clinic is located in the building that was previously known as the Morgentaler clinic, and offers abortion services.
“Because of the language that gets used [around abortion], people are talking about it like a private clinic. It’s not a private clinic; it’s a family doctors’ office, and all of those services are absolutely not private,” said Jessi Taylor, spokesperson for Reproductive Justice New Brunswick.
Still, abortion is only funded by medicare in the province when provided in one of two hospitals.
“Our goal is to eventually have abortion services, rather than being paid for out of pocket by the patient, be actually covered by Medicare,” Taylor said.
RJNB held a crowdfunding initiative in 2014 when the Morgentaler clinic closed due to lack of funding. They raised more than $150,000 which they then donated to Dr. Adrian Edgar to assist with his purchase of the building.
Edgar will serve patients as the medical director of Clinic 554. He was outed as transgender by pro-life website Lifesitenews.com writer Pete Baklinski earlier this month, and could not be reached for comment.
“The doctor, as I understand it, has always been a really big advocate and very much involved in gender heath care, trans healthcare, women’s healthcare and also abortion services and this was naturally something that was a really solid fit for him,” sa id Taylor.
Fredericton South MLA David Coon has seen what RJNB has achieved so far and thinks this newer model will be more sustainable. He hopes to see some collaboration between the downtown Fredericton Community Health Centre and Clinic 554 to serve the hundreds of people in Fredericton currently looking for a family doctor.
“As an MLA I get tons of emails or calls from people asking for help to find a family doctor,” said Coon. “Hundreds of people are going to be able to move off the list into those practices. Maybe I’ll be one of them.”
Coon and Taylor agree that this newer model of services should be something the government eventually models other healthcare clinics after.
RJNB will continue to hold Premier Brian Gallant to his promise to remove all barriers to abortion services, as well as eventual funding of abortion services by the government.
“This is really something that came out of the community this is something that worked outside of what the government was willing to give us,” said Taylor. “The idea of crowdsourcing your own medical services as a community, this is our thing, as a community, as New Brunswickers.”
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