Catholics decry plans to hire abortionists at Rome hospital

The Christian Times

Jardine Malado

A public hospital’s decision to hire two doctors who are willing to perform abortions have caused an outcry from Catholics in Italy, where most doctors refuse to carry out the procedure.

Under Italy’s “Law 194,” which was introduced in 1978, abortion is allowed up to 12 weeks into pregnancy for medical and personal reasons, AFP reported. However, doctors in the public service may refuse to perform the procedure on grounds of “conscientious objection.”

The issue sparked controversy after the San Camillo hospital in Rome advertised positions for two gynecologists, stipulating that those appointed should be willing to carry out abortions. Those who fail to conduct the procedure within the first six months of their appointment would put themselves at risk of being fired.

 

‘Take my name off the list, I can’t do any more’: Some doctors backing out of assisted death

National Post

Sharon Kirkey

Some doctors who have helped the gravely ill end their lives are no longer willing to participate in assisted death because of emotional distress or fear of prosecution if their decisions are second-guessed, according to their colleagues.

In Ontario, one of the few provinces to track the information, 24 doctors have permanently been removed from a voluntary referral list of physicians willing to help people die. Another 30 have put their names on temporary hold.

While they do not have to give a reason, a small number have advised the province they now want “a reflection period to decide whether medical assistance in dying is a service they want to provide,” according to a health ministry spokesman. . . [Full text]

 

American Psychiatric Association Position on Medical Euthanasia

 Mark S. Komrad, MD

Early in December 2016, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees passed an historic Position Statement that originated in the Assembly and was unanimously supported by the APA Ethics Committee:

The APA, in concert with the American Medical Association’s position on Medical Euthanasia, holds that a psychiatrist should not prescribe or administer any intervention to a non-terminally ill person for the purpose of causing death.

This position is now one of the strongest of any medical organization in the world regarding the practice of physician-assisted suicide by prescription medication or euthanasia by lethal injection (PAS/E) for those with non- terminal conditions. This is not just a theoretical possibility that might occur along a slippery slope following legalization of PAS/E for terminal illnesses. People with non-terminal illnesses have been legally euthanized at their own request in several countries for nearly 15 years. This has included certain eligible patients who have only psychiatric disorders. . .  [Full text]

 

Rome hospital insists gynaecologists perform abortions

San Camillo hospital ad rekindles church versus state debate on reproductive rights

The Irish Times

Paddy Agnew

An Italian hospital’s insistence that applicants for two gynaecology vacancies be prepared to carry out abortions, or face dismissal, has rekindled a church versus state debate on women’s reproductive rights.

Under Italy’s 1978 abortion legislation, any doctor in the public service may decline to carry out a pregnancy termination on grounds of “conscientious objection”. The percentage of conscientious objectors in Italy is about 70 per cent nationwide, and as high as almost 90 per cent in southern regions such as Sicily and Molise. . .[Full text]

 

Rovigo hires 2 non-objector biologists

Call put out after colleagues at assisted conception unit object

Ansa

(ANSA) – Rovigo, February 24 – Medical authorities in the Veneto city of Rovigo were obliged to issue out a selection competition for two biologists who are not conscientious objectors to work in a hospital assisted conception unit, it emerged on Friday. The call was made after two colleagues already working in the unit at Trecenta hospital refused to offer their services on grounds of conscience . . . [Full text]

 

New Mexico State Sen Gerald Ortiz y Pino proposes bill to stop freedom of conscience exemptions on abortions

The Global Dispatch

Kaye Wonderhouse

New Mexico’s State Senator, Gerald Ortiz y Pino, introduced Senate Bill 282, which would repeal religious exemptions for participating in abortions.

SB-282 states, “A hospital shall not refuse to provide a reproductive health service if withholding the reproductive health service would result in or prolong a serious risk to the patient’s life or health; and, where a failure to provide the reproductive health service would violate the medical standard of care owed the patient.” . . [Full text]

 

Quebec opens door to expanding end-of-life law to Alzheimer’s disease

Montreal Gazette

Joceleyne Richer

A consensus is emerging among Quebec parliamentarians to launch a public debate on the appropriateness of legalizing medically assisted suicide for persons unable to give informed consent, such as patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Without making any commitment, Health Minister Gaétan Barrette opened the door on Thursday for a public debate after calls by the two main opposition parties, the Parti Québécois and the Coalition avenir Québec. . . [Full text]

 

Slaying of nursing-home patient renews questions about medical assistance in dying

Montreal Gazette

Aaron Derfel

The alleged murder of an ailing nursing-home patient by her spouse on Monday has renewed questions about Quebec’s law on medical assistance in dying, especially when it comes to those who might be suffering from dementia.

On Tuesday, Michel Cadotte was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Jocelyne Lizotte, a patient of the east-end Centre d’hébergement émilie-Gamelin. Lizotte was reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and was denied a request for assisted dying.

Under Quebec’s “end-of-life care” act, which came into effect on Dec. 10, 2015, a patient seeking medical assistance in dying must make the request “in a free and informed manner.” . . . [Full text]

 

Minister, Italian Bishops’ Conference against abortion doc move

Rome hospital aims to combat rampant conscientious objection

ANSA

(ANSA) – Brussels, February 22 – Rome’s San Camillo Hospital’s call for two abortion doctors to skirt widespread conscientious objection against terminating pregnancies is “not envisaged” by the law, Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said Wednesday, stressing that conscientious objection is respected in Italy.

However, she said that but hospitals can ask regional governments to complete “specific individual services”.

Earlier the Italian Bishops Conference (CEI) slammed the planned hiring of two gynecologists at the San Camillo on a contract that reportedly envisages their dismissal if they refuse to perform abortions because it is against their consciences. . . [Full text]

 

Protection of Conscience Project to intervene in lawsuit against state medical regulator

News Release

For immediate release

Protection of Conscience Project

The Protection of Conscience Project has been granted joint intervener status in a constitutional challenge to policies of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

The Project is intervening jointly with the Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) and Faith and Freedom Alliance (FFA) in a lawsuit against the College launched by Ontario physicians and national physician organizations.

The joint intervention will defend freedom of conscience in the face of demands by the Ontario College of Physicians that physicians who refuse to kill patients or help them kill themselves must send them to a colleague willing do so.

“Unlike the CCRL and the FFA, the Project does not take a position on the acceptability of euthanasia or assisted suicide,” said Sean Murphy, Project Administrator.

“However, all three groups agree that those who object to the practices for moral, ethical or religious reasons should not be forced to provide or collaborate in them.”

The intervention will attempt to assist the court in defining a principled approach to the nature and scope of freedom of conscience.

Federal government policy a factor

The deliberate decision of the federal government to support coerced participation in homicide and suicide contributed to the Project’s decision to intervene.

“The federal government knew full well that the Ontario College was threatening to punish physicians who refuse to be parties to euthanasia and assisted suicide when it introduced Bill C-14 to set the groundrules for the procedures,” said Murphy.

“It could have prevented coercion by exercising its jurisdiction in criminal law. It could have made it a crime to force someone to be a party to homicide or suicide. It was repeatedly asked to do so. It steadfastly refused.”

Instead, Murphy said, “the Government of Canada chose to enable coercion, and to defend its support for coercion as ‘cooperative federalism.’”1

In contrast, the Project insists upon a foundational principle of democratic civility: that no one and no state institution may compel unwilling citizens to be parties to killing other people. Neither the state nor its agents nor others in positions of power and influence can legitimately order unwilling citizens to become parties to homicide and suicide, and punish them if they refuse.

The case is currently set for a hearing in mid-June.

Contact:
Sean Murphy, Administrator
Protection of Conscience Project
protection@consciencelaws.org


Notes

  1.  Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould, House of Commons Debates, Vol. 148, No. 055, 1st Session, 42nd Parliament, 13 May, 2016, p. 3312 (10:55)