Fredericton’s Morgentaler Clinic Is Closing, And Here’s Why You Should Care

11 Apr

The Morgentaler abortion clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has announced that it will be closing in July due to lack of funding.

The Morgentaler clinic is the only abortion clinic in New Brunswick. In fact, aside from the Athena clinic in Newfoundland, it is the only abortion clinic east of Montreal. It serves not only the population of New Brunswick, but also that of Prince Edward Island. Currently, abortions in those provinces are not covered by medicare – in fact, Regulation 84-20 of New Brunswick’s Medical Services Payment act includes the following under procedures which are “are deemed not to be entitled services”:

(a.1) abortion, unless the abortion is performed by a specialist in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology in a hospital facility approved by the jurisdiction in which the hospital facility is located and two medical practitioners certify in writing that the abortion was medically required 

So just to clarify, women in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island cannot access safe, legal abortions unless two doctors declare in writing that the abortion is medically necessary.

Medically. Necessary.

Women cannot choose to terminate a pregnancy unless two doctors agree that it is medically necessary.

It doesn’t matter how many times I type those words – I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around them. Medically necessary. Medically necessary. Jesus Christ, what decade are we living in?

Scratch that, what century are we living in?

The Morgentaler clinic is the only facility in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island where women can access safe, legal abortions without having to demonstrate medical need. It is the only place where women can exercise their rights to bodily autonomy and reproductive choice. It is unbelievably necessary to the population that it serves – since it first opened in 1994, 10,000 abortions have been performed there. There is a demonstrably urgent need for the Morgentaler clinic in New Brunswick.

And yet, even within the Morgentaler clinic, there are still barriers for women who require access to abortions. Because provincial healthcare does not cover abortions, women need to pay between $700 and $850 (depending on how many weeks along they are) in order to terminate their pregnancy. This means that the most vulnerable, economically disadvantaged women – arguably the women who would benefit the most from access to safe, legal abortion – are often unable to pay for the procedure. And that is incredibly fucked up.

Think about what it would mean to your family to suddenly have to shell out $850 on just a few weeks’ notice. Think of what it would mean for you to have to get that money together in a short amount of time, or else face the burden of an unexpected, unwanted pregnancy. I live a pretty comfortable middle class existence, and even I would struggle to come up with that kind of money on short notice. And I know that I’m luckier than most – I have a steady income, I have a partner with a steady income, and we have a stable home life. I cannot imagine what it would be like to be a single woman working at a minimum wage job, barely scraping enough together for rent and bills each month, to discover that she has to scrape together $850 or else face raising a child that she does not want and cannot afford on her own.

I also want you to think about what will happen in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island once the Morgentaler clinic is gone. Do you honestly believe that women just won’t have abortions? Are you seriously buying into some kind of anti-choice fantasy where a woman gets to the halfway mark in her pregnancy and suddenly falls in love with the idea of being a mother and then her boyfriend shows up on their doorstep and asks her to get married and it’s all roses and white picket fences from there on? For fucking real?

If that’s the case, let me tell you what’s actually going to happen – women are going to die. Women are going to die because they will be forced to turn to unlicensed abortion providers who might prey on their vulnerability by charging extortionate rates for unsafe procedures. Women are going to die because they will attempt to terminate their own pregnancies at home, by themselves, with little or no knowledge of what they’re doing. Women will die because their pregnancies will force them to stay in abusive relationships that they might otherwise have been able to leave. If you think that closing an abortion clinic will somehow equal more happy endings or at the very least more babies, then think again – worldwide statistics and history both show that the real outcome of this situation will be the loss of women’s lives.

This cannot happen. We cannot, in good conscience, let this happen. We need to do everything that we can to allow women to exercise reproductive freedom. We need to stand up for the right of women in New Brunswick – and all across Canada – to have access to save, legal abortion.

Our voices, united, can affect change. There are so many things that you can do to help create a better future for women in this country; here are just a few:

1. Reach out New Brunswick’s NDP party  – they are actively working to end the two doctor requirement for abortions, and will happily provide you with the contact information for members of the legislative assembly so that you can write to your local representative. Call 1-844-NDP-NPD1 or email

2. Put pressure on your MLA to have the law changed by writing to them, calling them, and emailing them

3. Tweet about this using the hashtag #NBProchoice

4. Sign this petition on asking the New Brunswick government to fund the Morgentaler clinic

5. Check out the New Brunswick Pro Choice Facebook page

6. Share this story on social media – chances are that many Canadians are not aware of how limited access to abortion is in New Brunswick

I want to leave you now with one of my favourite quotes from Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who was a feminist hero, agitator for women’s reproductive rights and founder of the Morgentaler abortion clinics. D. Morgentaler was a Holocaust survivor, and his experience at Auschwitz left him with an enormous desire to make the world a better place. While receiving an honorary doctorate of law from the University of Western Ontario, he said:

“By fighting for reproductive freedom, and making it possible, I have made a contribution to a safer and more caring society where people have a greater opportunity to realize their full potential.”

It’s up to us to continue his fight for that safer, more caring society.


201 Responses to “Fredericton’s Morgentaler Clinic Is Closing, And Here’s Why You Should Care”

  1. a woman April 12, 2014 at 1:31 am #

    Think of the women who have successfully killed themselves because they’re pregnant, embarrassed and ashamed. I, myself am completely terrified to get pregnant. I could consider it a phobia. I see too often people/kids having children before they are ready and in doing so, not properly take care of that child. The biggest sin, in my opinion is a child growing up not knowing what love and compassion is. So before you start judging abortions, you should understand that there are so many different circumstances to which a woman decides an abortion is right for her. To each her own.

    • Beth April 12, 2014 at 2:23 am #

      Women who have a “phobia” of having children, should probably refrain from doing the act that creates children. If they can’t refrain from sex, then they should take several precautions to prevent it. This is where someone will argue that birth control isn’t always effective, or condoms break; Well, there are also IUDs that will definitely help you out! Women should NOT put themselves in positions to need an abortion!! Women who feel otherwise clearly need to be more educated when it comes to sex.

      • Melissa April 12, 2014 at 4:49 am #

        What about a woman who gets raped and ends up getting pregnant by her rapist? Women who believe that unwanted pregnancies are completely avoidable should probably educate THEIRSELVES, and then maybe stay off the internet.

      • Scott Thomas April 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

        Thanks for vilifying people for simply living a normal life. I see you don’t have any words for men telling them not to engage in sex. Here’s an idea – leave a persons life decisions to them and they can do the same for you. Who are you to decide what is right or wrong for another person or to judge their actions? This is a legal right for women – and NB is standing in the way. Keep the religion out of my rights.

      • Beth April 14, 2014 at 12:03 am #

        Less than 1% of abortions are due to rape, so that argument is lost. Several women who have been raped, and had abortions, have actually come forward starting that aborting their child was more traumatic for them. Another horrific trauma won’t make the situation any better for these victims.

        All “facts” aside – yours, and mine; I don’t want MY tax dollars paying for unnecessary abortions. All you pro-lifers want to pool your money together to pay for others sources of birth control, go for it – because that’s what at least 9/10 abortions are. Birth control.

  2. Mitch April 12, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    This is why I left the East Coast. So backwards and against progress.

  3. Sue April 12, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Why should the goverment pay for this service with our tax money? When the goverment funds in vitro fertilization, any and all fees associated with adoption private or public. Then lets talk about goverment funded abortions.

  4. Louise April 12, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    Reblogged this on The Cherished Beast.

  5. LadyBird Magpie of Parkdale April 12, 2014 at 2:56 am #

    Great article. Thank you for addressing it. All women should have reproductive freedom…access to safe abortion clinics.

  6. Krista April 12, 2014 at 3:21 am #

    These women you want to save can save themselves by protecting themselves from getting pregnant to begin with and then no one has to die.. oh wait that would mean logic would have to be used…..

    • Wow. April 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

      Oh because condoms don’t break right? and birth control is 100% right?
      Looks like you’re the one lacking logic. Abortion shouldn’t be abused same as the morning after pill, but it should be available for people who have done their part to avoid getting pregnant and out of horrible luck end up with a child.
      As a member of society, i do not want parents who do not want a child, financially cannot have a child, or are mentally not ready for one to have a child. Does that mean they shouldn’t have one? No, but they damn well should have the choice before they possibly ruin their lives by popping one out.
      And for those who say adoption is a issue? Get real. Unless you’re giving you body up to become a surrogate you’ve got no place to say anything.

      • Diane April 21, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

        “and out of horrible luck end up with a child” OMG. People like you with this type of belief are the reason 10,000 babies were murdered.

    • Snowmama April 13, 2014 at 12:00 am #

      Wow, I hope you are never in a situation where you have to make such a hard choice. It might just mean you have to come down off you high horse for a minute.

    • BilltheCat April 13, 2014 at 3:24 am #

      So what you’re saying is women should either undergo sterilization surgery or abstain from having sex entirely (and, somehow, avoid being raped!) until such time as they decide to have children? Because those are literally the only two ways to completely prevent pregnancy. I would suggest that, in the future, you refrain from using words like ‘logic’ until you know the meaning of them.

      • Royboy Bradley April 13, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

        So y should the baby have to die? why are you so selfish?

    • kate April 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

      I have two beautiful baby boys and conceived them both while taking proper precautions to NOT get pregnant. Luckily for me I wanted to have my children and was financially able. There are many women who are careless and use abortion as a form of birth control and that is wrong. But there are many who have unplanned pregnancies and were taking proper precautions to NOT get pregnant. Some of these women choose to abort the child at the early stages due to financial issues or an abusive relationship, not completed school yet… regardless of the reason, it is most likely better that a child not be raised in their environment that the mother thought was not good for a baby. The mother is trying to save a child from a life of misery and should be patted on the back for being responsible and making the right decision for the unborn child. Keep in mind I am referring to women who actively tries to NOT get pregnant and does anyway. To say that you are anti abortion is to say you are pro child abuse or pro child hunger or pro children ending up in the system and in foster care, etc. Any reason a responsible person had the abortion for was to prevent a child from having a terrible life because that woman KNEW she could not provide for the child properly or the KNEW the baby would grow up in a terrible environment and did not want that for their child. Its called love. Not everyone has the capeablitly to turn their life around in 9 months and the woes of pregnancy make it that much I said earlier in my comment, women who use abortion as a form of birth control are wrong, and should be shot. They ruin it for women who should justifiably be able to have an abortion for a very good reason. But just because there are these types of women out there who do use abortion as a form of birth control, it should not because to ruin it for real women who are responsible. I get that closing down an abortion clinic, the only abortion clinic on the East Coast, could possibly cause these irresponsible women to double sink what they’re doing but the chances of that are unlikely and all it will cause is problems and heartache for the women who truly do need it and should rightfully so be allowed to have the option.condoms do break and birth control does fail it is just the way it is. Nothing is 100%.women should not have to abstain from sex because they are in a bad position to have a child, they should just have to take necessary precautions to not get pregnant. If those necessary precautions fail her, she should be able to abort the pregnancy if she wishes to do so regardless of what her reasons are. And she should not be judged just because there are women out there who abuse the abortion system. With that said I am pro-abortion, but I only find it appropriate depending on the circumstances. people who was never being in a bad situation in their life, or had a child, or had an abortion should never comment on issues such as this. And people who grew up extremely fortunate should definitely not comment on issues such as should also not comment anything negative about this because you never know what someone situation or there’s reasons for doing something so extreme. And when you do you look nieve stupid.

      • Diane April 21, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

        Patted on the back for committing murder? Unbelievable…

      • Jennifer April 29, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        “like I said earlier in my comment, women who use abortion as a form of birth control are wrong, and should be shot”

        Um, excuse me? Reproductive rights are about women having autonomy when it comes their bodies. That means people don’t get to draw those lines regarding what is or isn’t an acceptable reason to have an abortion. That’s already what that backwards law is doing.

        A woman should be able to have an abortion regardless of what she has or hasn’t done to prevent a pregnancy and she is NOT “ruining” it for everyone else.

        I hope you reflect on your words.

    • Jean April 14, 2014 at 3:12 am #

      Your honest View on this is that EVERY TIME a woman has unprotected intercourse, or is raped without a condom, that the woman thinks ” oh, well there is a high risk of pregnancy here, but its okay! if i get pregnant, I’ll just spend precious time, money, and effort to go have a safe abortion, that may well be painful, emotionally traumatic, result in what I feel is murder, and NOT EVEN IN MY COUNTRY” Yes, very good sir. I applaud your use of logic.

  7. Kitty April 12, 2014 at 5:53 am #

    So I’ve read through so many of the comments and for this subject I am compelled to make my own. I’ve always been pro-choice however, if faced with the decision myself I would not want government laws to dictate what I can and cannot do to my body. I was personally faced with this decision 8 years ago. I was on birth control (IUD) and condoms were used during sex. However, no birth control is 100%, we all know this. I was in a relationship, and despite precautions, I ended up pregnant. My relationship ended and if that wasn’t enough, I was faced with an agonizing decision, do I keep this baby or not? Am I able to offer this unborn child a good life? Better than my own? Starting off as a single mother, student and part time retail worker, my answer was overwhelmingly, no. As for those who say oh, place the child for adoption. Well unless you were in the same situation, you have no place to judge. Adoption is not an easy decision either. Imagine, if you already have a child, that life developing over the 40 weeks of gestation and not becoming attached? Can you imagine then giving birth and bidding your baby adieu? I highly doubt it. The decision to have an abortion is difficult and I went through a lot of guilt and shame after having the procedure. So for those saying keep your legs closed and stop using abortion as birth control, STOP. The amount of women who are just like me are the majority. The other is a minority.

    I’m an atheist. I respect others’ religious beliefs but I do not want them preached to me, I do not “preach” my beliefs. There is a reason why there is a separation of church and state. Safe abortions are needed and I am glad I live in a province that covers the cost and allows a woman to make a choice about her body. It’s really no one else’s business.

    I don’t care if I’m torn apart in any responses, this debate has been ongoing for years. The truth is, unless you’ve been in the situation, your opinion is really just judgment.

    As for me, that was 9 years ago. I do not have any children and I do not regret my decision, I’m in a much better place now to have a child when my partner and I choose to. This all goes down to CHOICE.

    • Kitty April 12, 2014 at 5:19 pm #

      Edit: it was 8 years ago. Typo.

    • Taryn April 13, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      I can hardly believe that women are still having to fight for their right to a safe abortion. I am in my 50s and have 5 children but at certain points in my life I would have had an abortion. Ironic how many of these anti-choice people make bold statements about ” support our troops”. War is OK but abortion is not.

  8. Cher April 12, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    I haven’t read every single comment on here, but from what I have read, no one seems to have mentioned adoption as an alternative. Everyone seems to put it down to either having an abortion, or being forced to look after a child they didn’t want. That isn’t the only choice available. There are plenty of families out there who would welcome a baby into their lives, thus relieving the mother of the responsibility of caring for a child she is emotionally or financially unable to provide for. What about a child’s right to life? All of us here, are lucky to be so because our own mothers decided to give us that gift. An abortion doesn’t simply put an end to a “problem.” Once that procedure is complete, the mother is left with that experience to haunt her memory, and her heart the rest of her life. It doesn’t simply end once the pregnancy does. Wouldn’t it be better to sacrifice of oneself for a relatively short portion of their life, and give the gift of life to their child? Wouldn’t it be better to opt for adoption, knowing that someone who is better equipped and eager to become a parent might be granted that chance by a mother’s selfless act?

    • kate April 13, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Adoption isn’t for everyone. And there are many many many child who go unadopted and end up living in the system and in and out of abusive foster homes. Statics show that the majority of children put into the system at a young age stay in the system for life. I.e. the justice system. I have had children and I know that after carrying a child, and delivering my bundles of joy adoption would be completely out of the question. In my opinion, choosing adoption over abortion is just putting a child in the position to potentially live just as bad of a life as the one you could have prevented by having an abortion. Some adoptions are successful, a lot are not. Not worth the risk to me. If you want to give the gift of life, be sure you can make it a good life for the child and adoption can not gaurentee that. Abortion is an extreme choice b at times very necessary.

      • sammykur June 2, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

        you neglect to mention that most of the unadopted are already children and not babies.I am going to provide you with a link about adoption misconceptions in the hopes you will read it and take it in the spirit it was intended.

      • sammykur June 2, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    • sammykur June 3, 2014 at 3:21 am #

      love the first half Cher absolutely great- thoug the second half just isnt true alot of would be mothers buy into the rhetoric that it is not a real baby until 9 months after conception and justify their actions never believing they did anything wrong and a fetus is just a mass of unwanted tissue.

  9. Galactic Wolf April 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    Ya leaving the province really contributes alot to changing things for the better around here, that type of thinking is played out and arrogant in my opinion. Also blaming unwanted pregnancies on the women alone is a shameful attitude when the man is equally at fault for not controlling his own bodily fluids. It’s very simple, wear a condom, pull out, just don’t be a fucking idiot about it. This is also why I always vote NDP and will continue to do so. Whereas they are agitating for real change the Liberal/Conservative political see-saw will continue to toe the line of the status quo to get a pay cheque and nothing will ever change. They’re afraid to rock the boat because they’re afraid of pissing off the electorate of older folks with conservative moral values who tend to vote more than the younger generation who have a more liberal inclusive world view.

  10. allison April 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    does that mean that men need it “medically necessary” by 2 doctors to have a vasectomy done?

    • Kim April 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

      Allison honey, last time I checked a Vasectomy meant sterilization thus would be compare to tying of tubes or ovary removal not a pregnancy.

      • sammykur June 3, 2014 at 3:21 am #

        thanks Kim

  11. melissa parish April 12, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

    So it is ok that 10 000 children have been kill all for the rights of women. What about the rights of the unborn child? If all humans have rights then I guess it is ok to live by double standards. Not all these abortions are medically nessasery some use it for a form of birth control. God does not make mistakes.

    • Diane April 21, 2014 at 2:12 pm #


  12. laydii April 12, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    1. I personally am pro-life. 2. I totally support a woman’s right to make decision regarding her body. 3. I am NOT, not for putting the responsibility of decisions WE (as women, people) make on anyone else. Therefore, rather than advocate for or against whatever choice one is going to make, I think its SO important to make conscious decisions!!! If there is nowhere, or no way for me to get a legal, safe abortion when I end up with an unwanted pregnancy, it is MY fault and I have to deal with that. Whatever I choose to do at that point, is NOT on the government (for taking it away), or my mother, or my boyfriend or whoever else. I have to own that choice and responsibility. I chose to have sex knowing there was a possibility of getting pregnant. I knew my situation (financial, marital, whatever). I chose that, in spite of the risks. And in knowing that, I chose to take the risk, and in so doing chose the responsibility. Right, wrong or indifferent, that’s the way it is. Putting it on the government (or anyone else) to HAVE TO offer me a way to resolve that (not to mention, pay for it), because I have the ‘right’ to make another choice because my last choice didn’t end up like I wanted it to, is mind-blowing.

  13. Sarah April 12, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

    Fuck I understand abortion is a gray area. But all u haters out there an church going bible thumpers. Need to back off its not ur choice weather or not pple get this done. My baby died inside me an I was not waiting 9th fucking month to deliver a dead baby. So guess what fucker I got an abortion. An it is free when ur doctor referres u to the Moncton hospital. An believe it or not every OBGYN Can
    Perform this procedure. Cause I started to hemmrig an they had to do it. An a lot of doctors don’t agree that there not funded to do this. But pple still for get when a women gives birth an something goes wrong they will save the mother life over tge babies. So suck on that u fucking haters u all should burn in hell.

    • Diane April 21, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

      Maybe you should return to school to learn to spell before voicing an opinion. You totally missed the point of this article. Surprise!!!!

  14. Alex April 14, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    “Gee, if a baby is such a burden to women’s progress, think how bad kids who’ve actually been born are!?”

  15. Keith D Millership April 15, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    I think the Clinic should close let me tell everyone why ok, in this day and age where we are so advanced in our culture I truly believe that abortions are out dated. Yes women should have the right to choose if they want a child or not so practice safe sex. For far to long people were having one night stands and having sex un protected and if they got pregnant they would just go and deal with that by getting a abortion, I am sorry but I do not agree that is the best way to deal with that. Would you go and kill your child that has been born,? well it is the same thing as that these babies in the womb are a live and they did not ask to be made so why do we have the right to play God?

    No their is only one God and that is the living God of the Holy Bible, abortion is a abomination and should be illegal unless their is a medical reason why like if the mother would have the child she would die then yes maybe then but not just because the mother made a mistake face up to it if that is what it is. Do you know how many women who wish they could have a child but cant adoption is the only means for these women so anyways that is my thought on this subject thank you.

    Also God has a high regard for children and says that they make up the kingdom of heaven and we need to be more like children, God also thinks of us as his children so thank about that we all are children of God we do not have the right to kill and that is what abortion is thanks.


    Rev. Keith D Millership

    • Keith D Millership October 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

      Since I have wrote this my thoughts have changed and I am sorry for anyone I have offended by writing this, I think women do have a right to choose, it is the choice of the person they may have reasons some do not understand.

  16. ckerr April 15, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    Okay, I feel compelled to chime in here. The pro-life movement is way out of line these days. Protesting outside of a clinic may be their right but no woman should be bullied for a decision she makes about her own body. It’s hard enough for women to get good health care.

    As for all the alternative options, yes adoption is a nice way to go. However, there are thousands of already born babies and children desperate for a new home. Everyone wants an infant so these kids get pushed into the system seemingly never to be seen again.

    Ever think of the fact that it really is none of your business what the woman is going through and what her situation is? A woman’s body changes forever during a pregnancy. She may have had failed birth control, she may be in an abusive relationship and having the baby will tie her to her abuser for the rest of her life, she may be a rape victim, she may not be able to financially support a child, whatever the reason. The percentage of women who get abortions as a form of birth control is very very small.

    If the public and the government forced you to live in a country where they can dictate what you do with your body wouldn’t you be upset?

  17. DME_Fredericton April 30, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    I guess we were in the same “frame of mind when I posted on my blog very similar thoughts.. I welcome you to visit and read…

  18. sammykur May 19, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    “”Think about what it would mean to your family to suddenly have to shell out $850 on just a few weeks’ notice. Think of what it would mean for you to have to get that money together in a short amount of time, or else face the burden of an unexpected, unwanted pregnancy. I live a pretty comfortable middle class existence, and even I would struggle to come up with that kind of money on short notice.””

    If you would have to stuggle to come up with $850 you are not middle class , The sooner you realize this the better. You are not alone most people consider themselves middle class both those who have more money than you and i would know what to do with and those who fall into the upper lower class.As the concentraiton of wealth has gravitated upwards so has the number of people who percieve themselves as middle class. This simply isnt possible and the fact wealth has become concentrated at the top is quite provable and is a concrete fact.

    Just out of curiousity does anyone out there think the father should have a say about an abortion.

    • Taryn May 20, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

      No the father should not have a say. It is the woman’s body and responsibility for the rest of her life if she has a child. Not all men are bad but fathers come and go and it would just be one more control issue that the man would have.

      • sammykur June 2, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

        Interesting view
        I would have to point out that both men and women are just as equally able to shirk their responsibility after birth. Dont want a baby?,drop them at the fire-house no questions asked. So it is in fact both contributors of the DNA responsibility.

        I could argue that its not the woman body but a body that is inside hers growing, but unless you have my insight gained from personal experience, you cannot know for a fact as I do that a fetus is a child and a life.

        “” it would just be one more control issue that the man would have.””

        control over what? the woman or the unborn child???

  19. Bub December 15, 2014 at 1:24 am #

    I wish Morgentaler could have aborted Terry Lynne McClintic and Michael Briere, instead of all those innocent human fetuses who would have turned out to be good people. If a prenatal test could determine a child molester-killer in utero, I’d support abortion.


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