Friday, January 6, 2012
How to Get an Abortion in New Brunswick
So, as someone who has gained some notoriety for my involvement in New Brunswick abortion politics, I get contacted a lot about, well, that. Sometimes by the media, most often by Masters students, and every now and then by a friend, acquaintance or stranger looking for information on how to get an abortion. So I thought it was about time I put this information out there to the general public in case you don't feel comfortable contacting me in person to ask. Also, I no longer live in New Brunswick - things may change (and may have already). So please feel free to comment with updates, critiques and further advice.
Having an unwanted pregnancy and living in New Brunswick is not the easiest situation to be in. I wish that every person in this situation could feel supported and loved, but that is not the case. So first of all I just want to say: You are not alone. You are not the first or the last person to be facing this situation. There is help and support for you. You have done nothing wrong and deserve compassion and care. You have the right to be safe and to make whatever choice is right for you. Please contact me if you need a compassionate ear or further advice/information at pedgehog[at]gmail[dot]com.
NOTE: This information is for people who have decided they are going to have an abortion. If you are undecided, please see the bottom of the post for some decision-making resources. Do not feel you have to have an abortion if that is not what you want. You have the right to choose whether or not to continue your pregnancy.
***EDITED September 2014 in response to recent closure of the Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic***
More up to date information is here. I STRONGLY encourage you to check out this info put together by Reproductive Justice New Brunswick now that the clinic is closed. CLICK HERE
How to Get an Abortion in New Brunswick:
1. Are you pregnant? Find out! I know it sounds silly, but a lot of people freak out and don't confirm the pregnancy, which can mean a lot of trouble for nothing. If it is possible for you, confirm your pregnancy by a urine test (available over the counter without prescription at any drug store, or grocery store with a pharmacy section), or by a blood or urine test at your doctor's office.
2. How far along are you? If you do not have access to an ultrasound appointment (and most people don't), try counting from the FIRST DAY of your LAST NORMAL PERIOD. If you know this day, use it - it is a much more reliable measure than the day you think you conceived. Trust me, the body works in mysterious ways.
This is where it gets flow chart-y:
3. If you suspect (or have confirmed) that you are past 16 weeks gestation, you need to act fast! Call the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton (contact info at the bottom of the post) AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and let them know the situation. Depending on how certain you are of your dates, they may either refer you out of province (probably to Quebec or Ontario) or bring you in for an ultrasound. It is really, really important that you don't lie or stretch the truth to try and get a clinic appointment. They will not perform an abortion if you ultrasound at 16 weeks or over, and you will just waste time in a very time-sensitive situation (not to mention taking up an appointment that could have potentially gone to someone else). The more you are upfront and clear with the clinic, the easier it will be for them to help you.
4. The above is also true if you are close to 16 weeks - I would say anything above 12 weeks is reason to call the clinic right away. You will be too far along for a hospital abortion, so it's important to try to get into the clinic as soon as you can.
5. If you think you are below 12 weeks, you may have a choice in where to go. Let's talk about the clinic vs. the hospital!
CLINIC: The Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton is the only private abortion clinic in the Maritimes. It is licensed, safe, discrete and confidential, and clean, and the staff there is compassionate and professional. Obviously I worked there and am totally biased, but I don't mind saying that it is the gold standard in abortion care, and I stand by that.
PROS: Specialized - it will only be abortion patients; amazing staff and supportive atmosphere; totally confidential; up to 16 weeks gestation.
CONS: Protesters; located in Fredericton (a con if you live elsewhere in the province); the procedure costs $600-$800 and is not covered by Medicare.
HOSPITAL: As far as I know there is only one hospital in NB still performing abortions - possibly two. In order to have a hospital abortion you need to have a referral from two doctors; a GP and an OB/GYN.
PROS: Totally covered by Medicare; easier to be discrete if that is your thing (there are lots of reasons to go to a hospital).
CONS: Only goes up to 12 weeks; much harder to get in (waiting list); NEED TWO REFERRALS; not specialized (ie you might be hanging out in the waiting room with expectant mothers of wanted pregnancies).
6. Let's go to the hospital! First, go to your family doctor and explain the situation. Tell them you are pregnant, you are firm in your decision to terminate the pregnancy, and you require a referral for a hospital abortion (if they are supportive they will usually be able to help you get the second referral as well).
i. Don't have a family doctor/have a horrible anti-choice family doctor? If you are a student, go to the Student Health Centre on campus for a referral.
ii. Not a student? Try calling the Sexual Health Clinic and/or the Morgentaler Clinic for a doctor in your area.
PLEASE NOTE: While if you have a family doctor this IS worth a try, your chances are slim for getting in to the hospital. There are a lot of people trying to do so, and the doctors are turning people away. My advice is to set up a clinic appointment first; then you can call and cancel it if you get into the hospital.
7. Let's go to the clinic! Call the clinic. Have your information ready - demographic info, first day of your last normal period or ultrasound date if possible, height, Medicare number. They only do clinic days one day a week so be prepared to lose a work/school day for this appointment.
i. Don't have any money? Call anyway! It's always possible that you will be able to work something out or get a great resource for financial support; sometimes the clinic can even help you find those resources. It's important to lock an appointment down, though - you can always call and cancel if you change your mind.
ETA: Here it is in flow chart form
Here are some resources for further help:
sexualityandu.ca: online resource for birth control questions and information on STIs, sexual and reproductive health, health education, etc.
UNBF Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 453-4837
UNBSJ Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 648-5656
U de Moncton Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 858-4007
Mount Allison Student Health Centre
Phone: (506) 364-2163
Fredericton Sexual Health Clinic
Phone: (506) 453-5200
Saint John Sexual Health Centre
Phone: (506) 658-3998
Moncton Sexual Health Centre
Phone: (506) 856-3310
National Abortion Federation hotline: 1-800-772-9100
DECISION MAKING AND REFERRALS
Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic
Phone: (506) 451-9060
Canadian Federation for Sexual Health
Pregnancy options guide
National Abortion Federation hotline: 1-877-257-0012
Decision making guide
Canadians for Choice
Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
Canadians for Choice
Fredericton Morgentaler Clinic
Phone: (506) 451-9060