FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government is moving forward with its commitment to remove barriers that hinder access to a woman’s right to reproductive services in New Brunswick.

“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,” said Premier Brian Gallant.

Barriers identified included a section of Regulation 84-20 of the Medical Services Payment Act, which included the requirement to have written certification by two doctors prior to being able to access the service; timeliness of access; availability of accurate and non-judgmental information; and capacity within the system to provide the service.

“Identifying those barriers was an important step towards eliminating them,” said Gallant.

The government will be moving forward with an amendment to 84-20 to no longer require two physicians to certify the procedure is medically required, and to remove the requirement that the procedure must be performed by a specialist. The amendment, which will be effective as of Jan. 1, 2015, will put reproductive health procedures in the same category as any insured medical service.

The government will also be working with the regional health authorities to increase capacity and improve timeliness of access. The government will also improve access to accurate and non-judgmental information.

“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,” said Gallant.