At least six faith-based health-care facilities in Manitoba — including two Winnipeg hospitals — will not be providing medically assisted deaths to their patients or long-term care residences.
Officials from St. Boniface Hospital told the Free Press Monday patients seeking medical assistance in dying will have to go to another facility to have the service offered.
Other medical care facilities under the Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba umbrella, including St. Joseph’s residence in northwest Winnipeg, Ste. Rose General Hospital near Dauphin, and Winnipegosis and District Health Centre will also follow suit, explained the corporation’s CEO, Daniel Lussier. . . [Full text]
An ARC Discovery Project, running from 2015 to 2017
Summary of project
Conscientious objection is a central topic in bioethics and is becoming more ever important. This is hardly surprising if we consider the liberal trend in developments of policies about abortion and other bioethical issues worldwide. In recent decades the right to abortion has been granted by many countries, and increasingly many conservative and/or religious doctors are being asked to perform an activity that clashes with their deepest moral and/or religious values.
Debates about conscientious objection are set to become more intense given the increase in medical options which are becoming available or may well be available soon (e.g. embryonic stem cell therapies, genetic selection, human bio-enhancement, sex modification), and given the increasingly multicultural and multi-faith character of Australian society. Not only will doctors conscientiously object to abortion, and to practices commonly acknowledged as morally controversial, but some of them may also object to a wide range of new and even established practices that conflict with their personal values for example, Muslim doctors refusing to examine patients of the opposite sex.
Defining conscientious objection and identifying reliable markers for it, as well as setting the boundaries of legitimate conscientious objection through clear and justifiable principles, are difficult but pressing tasks.
This project advances bioethical debate by producing a philosophically and psychologically informed analysis of conscience, and by applying this to discussions about the legitimate limits to conscientious objection in health care.
St. Boniface General Hospital and Concordia Hospital conscientiously object to legal practice
Two faith-based hospitals in Winnipeg say they will not be providing doctor-assisted deaths to their patients.
Both Concordia Hospital (Anabaptist-Mennonite) and St. Boniface Hospital (Catholic) say they will not offer the legal service to patients.
In June, the federal government amended the criminal code with Bill C-14 to allow doctors and nurse practitioners to help patients with “grievous and irremediable” illnesses to die. Manitoba introduced its own policy to implement medical assistance in dying, commonly called MAID, that same month. . . [Full text]
In 1639 three nuns got off the boat from France and began to build Hotel Dieu in Montreal, the first hospital in Canada. Over time, some 275 hospitals were built across our country by self-sacrificing Catholics who faithfully served the sick and dying out of love and compassion, without regard to their patients’ faith or lack of faith. Succeeding generations of Canadians have been grateful for the spiritual and physical care they have received at such places.
St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver is one of those Catholic hospitals. In keeping with its faith-based principles, it respects the Catholic sense of human dignity — meaning, among other things, that it does not perform abortions or participate in assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Ellen Wiebe, a physician who is also an abortion and euthanasia activist, together with a lawyer, Richard Owens, recently criticized St. Paul’s because it would not euthanize one of its dying patients, Ian Shearer. . . [Full text]
The Ontario government has quietly amended its proposed Patients First Act with wording that appears to strengthen the rights of faith-based hospitals to opt out of assisted death.
The proposed amendment, which was not originally in the act, appeared when it was re-tabled last month after the legislature was prorogued. The act, according to the province, is aimed at improving health care for patients and their families. . . [Full text]
TORONTO – It’s rare for an hour-long, academic lecture to get a standing ovation, but Dr. Ewan Goligher earned thunderous applause from about 100 people who turned up on a cold, rainy night to hear his defence of medical conscience.
The Toronto intensive care physician and researcher has become one of the leading voices opposing efforts to force doctors to make an “effective referral” for assisted suicide.
Goligher maintains that for the sake of medicine and democratic society, doctors must have a right to conscientious objection — not just for abortion but also for assisted killing.
“Freedom of conscience in the practice of medicine has been seriously eroded in recent years,” Goligher warned at the second annual deVeber Institute lecture delivered at the University of Toronto’s Wycliffe College on Oct. 27. . . [Full text]
A Christian nursing home run by the Salvation Army in Switzerland has been told that it must either allow assisted suicide despite its religious beliefs, or lose its charitable status.
The nursing home mounted a legal challenge against the country’s new assisted suicide rules which require charities taking care of the sick or elderly and to offer assisted suicide when a patient asks for it, Catholic Herald reports. But a Swiss court ruled against the nursing home earlier this month. . .[Full text]
The Canadian euthanasia issue marks a time of upheaval in medical ethics and the healthcare system which could be compared to events a century ago in Russia.
The Bolsheviks were not preordained to take over from the previous government, but their ruthlessness and aggression were unmatched. They demonized competing ideas and purged the social structures. They made their own laws. Nothing was allowed to stand. All was justified for public good, the good of the Proletariat.
People who would be ignored if they insisted that all welfare recipients be required to think alike, or that all Canada Council grants be used to create the same work of art, grab attention by bullying Catholic caregivers and hospitals which, like all hospitals, could not survive without tax dollars. . . [Full text]
On Oct. 23, we celebrated our annual White Mass for those in the healing professions of medicine and health care at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
As we know, Christians have been doctors and nurses from the earliest days of the Church. Before Christianity, the healing arts were practiced by self-taught individuals who traveled from town to town. Christians invented the hospital and were the first to establish medicine as a profession, with standards for training and care and a commitment to medical research.
From the beginning, Christian doctors served everyone, regardless of religion or social status, and they refused to turn any patient away — even those with highly contagious diseases.
Historians tell us that Christians were the only ones who cared for the sick and dying during the plagues and epidemics that afflicted the late Roman Empire. Many of them died from diseases they contracted from their patients.
Something else distinguished early Christian doctors — from the beginning they refused to take part in abortion, infanticide, birth control, assisted suicide or castration, all of which they considered bad medical practice and contrary to the truths of the Gospel.
These basic commitments continue to distinguish Catholic and Christian doctors and nurses. But these are challenging times in health care. . . [Full text]
Policy hits conscience; believers often classified as bigots
Oregon tends to lead the pack in causes favored by some wings of the political left — legal abortion, assisted suicide, gay marriage, recreational marijuana.
Some fear that next on the progressive docket could be tax exemption for churches and the right of church agencies to operate according to their ancient beliefs, especially in the dignity of life and marriage.
“There has been a striking change just in the last 10 or even just five years,” says Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in central and eastern Oregon.
Bishop Cary cites demographics. Among the fastest-growing groups in Oregon is the population without religious affiliation. That means they have no personal interest in protecting religious freedom. In their minds, personal choice trumps religious liberty, the bishop says.
Also new is the government’s willingness to use policy to try to force people to act against conscience. . . [Full text]