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June 1, 2021


TORONTO – The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has won the first round of its abortion lawsuit in New Brunswick. New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench has granted the Canadian Civil Liberties Association standing to pursue its reproductive rights challenge against the New Brunswick government.

The CCLA filed a formal lawsuit against the Government of New Brunswick and Regulation 84-20, limiting access to abortions.

“The government did not want this lawsuit to proceed – and they lost. The court’s decision not only recognizes CCLA’s status to bring forward the claim, but also explicitly states that the government’s position opposing it was surprising and unreasonable,” said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, CCLA’s Equality Program Director.

“In her decision, Chief Justice DeWare recognized that it would be unfair to ask an individual woman seeking an abortion to be the public face of the litigation, and she recognized that CCLA’s action can provide a voice for marginalized and disadvantaged individuals who may not have the means to have their legal rights considered.”

As it stands, New Brunswick’s Regulation 84-20 only permits three hospitals – in two cities –  to carry out abortion services, leaving 90% of New Brunswickers without adequate abortion services in their local community.

“This is particularly troubling during a pandemic when travel outside one’s community is dangerous or even impossible. This restriction on abortion access is always harmful to those who are marginalized, who cannot find or afford a private alternative, or who cannot travel to get an abortion due to work, financial resources, childcare needs, or domestic violence.”

“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, CCLA’s Equality Program Director. “The government could make reproductive rights available to all women, girls and trans individuals across the province. The regulation is unconstitutional. If they choose to fight, we will meet them at the courthouse.”

“Dr. Henry Morgentaler filed a similar lawsuit prior to his passing. CCLA is proud to continue his work and stand up for women, girls and trans individuals, who have been abandoned by this government,” concluded Mendelsohn Aviv.

CCLA is grateful for the support and pro bono contribution of our excellent litigation team and their firm: Andrew Bernstein, Gillian Dingle and Emily Sherkey (Torys LLP).


Read the decision here 


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About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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