The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL] 2017-19, introduced by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, was read for the first time in the British House of Lords. First reading is a formality that begins the legislative process. The proposal is a procedure-specific bill limited to activities associated with abortion, artificial reproduction and withdrawing life sustaining treatment.
A pro-life doctor in Illinois is embroiled in a legal battle to challenge a 2016 law that requires all doctors, pharmacists, and pregnancy centers to assist women in obtaining abortions, regardless of whether the medical professionals are opposed to the procedure.
SB 1564 narrowly passed the Illinois House on party lines before being signed into law by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. Under the law, which amends the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act, doctors are required to provide information to patients about the “benefits” of abortion. It indicates that medical personnel must “inform a patient of the patient’s condition, prognosis, legal treatment options, and risks and benefits of the treatment options in a timely manner consistent with current standards of medical practice.”
The law mandates that physicians who are unwilling to provide the requested service “because the healthcare service is contrary to the conscience of the healthcare facility, physician, or healthcare personnel” must refer the patient to someone who will.
But those opposed to abortion contend that asking them to refer patients to someone who will provide them abortion services continues to violate their consciences. . . [Full text]
Waterloo Region Record
Last week five doctors and several rights groups were in Ontario’s Divisional Court challenging rules imposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to punish doctors who refuse to help arrange assisted suicide. The Court reserved its ruling, which will be released at a later date.
Ontario’s new assisted suicide law amended various Acts in response to the federal legislation on assisted suicide. Pleas to guarantee freedom of conscientious objection for doctors who defy orders to provide “effective referral” were ignored by the legislature, so penalties imposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario against conscientious objectors remain in force.
Remarkably, in just two short years Canadians have gone from punishing those who helped arrange assisted suicide to punishing those who refuse to arrange assisted suicide. . . [Full text]
‘It would have been hypocritical for me to continue sitting’ on St. Boniface subcommitte, says Dr. Ken Hahlweg
Two more resignation letters have been submitted after a controversial revote banned medically assisted dying at Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital.
On May 29, the St. Boniface Hospital board of directors, which provides governance for the hospital, narrowly approved a new policy that would allow medical assistance in dying, or MAID, at the faith-based hospital under “rare circumstances.”
The Catholic Health Corp. of Manitoba, which owns St. Boniface Hospital’s facilities and appoints its board, held a special board meeting the next day and added 10 new members, all of whom were part of the corporation, to the hospital’s board of directors, and then asked for a revote on June 12.
That vote banned medically assisted death at the hospital. . . [Full text]
Christian Concern reported earlier this year that the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) had amended its guidance to remove any protection for pharmacists and their legal right to freedom of conscience.
Christian Concern provided submissions to the GPhC stating very clearly that not only did pharmacists enjoy a legal right to freedom of conscience, but also that the public had a right to receive services from pharmacists who share their set of values. . . [Full text]
CatholicPhilly/Catholic News Service
MANCHESTER, England (CNS) — In a U-turn of proposed policy, Britain’s pharmacy regulator has declared that Catholic pharmacists should not be forced to dispense lethal drugs against their consciences.
The General Pharmaceutical Council, the regulatory body that sets professional standards for the industry throughout the country, has backed away from controversial proposals to abolish the right of people with religious convictions to conscientiously object to dispensing the morning-after pill, contraceptives and hormone-blocking drugs used by transsexual patients.
In new guidance issued June 22, it says: “Professionals have the right to practice in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs as long as they act in accordance with equalities and human rights law and make sure that person-centered care is not compromised.” . . . [Full text]
The Christian Institute
Christian pharmacists will remain free to do their jobs in line with their consciences after regulators published new guidance recognising the “positive” role of religion.
Earlier draft guidance by the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) could have forced Christians to provide access to abortifacient or hormone-blocking drugs.
The guidance now states: “Pharmacy professionals have the right to practise in line with their religion, personal values or beliefs”. The changes were made after The Christian Institute threatened the GPhC with legal action and hundreds of Christian professionals raised objections. . . [Full text]
A Swedish midwife vows to continue her battle for the right to refuse to participate in abortion.
Elinor Grimmark, a midwife, has stated that she chose the profession to help bring life into the world.
Sweden slammed the door on her career when Grimmark, a Christian, refused to participate in abortion on moral and ethical grounds. . . [Full text]
Lawyer Noel Wardle explains the impact and context of the controversial standards for pharmacists
All pharmacists will be aware of standard 3.4 in the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) previous standards of conduct, ethics and performance – often referred to as the “conscience clause”. This clause gave pharmacists an opt-out for providing services and medicines that are contrary to their “religious and moral beliefs”.
From June 12 to 15, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice heard legal arguments relating to conscience rights for doctors in Ontario. Five doctors and three physicians’ organizations want the court to declare portions of policies created by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) a violation of doctors’ rights enshrined in the Charter. A decision is expected later this year.
CPSO, the respondent in the case, has stated they may suspend or sanction a doctor that refuses to participate in an assisted suicide, which they — duplicitously in my opinion — call “medical aid in dying” (MAID). Euthanasiasts prefer the euphemism because “aid in dying” sounds softer and gentler than “kill.” But the true definition of MAID is palliative care, whose future as a medical discipline has been thrown into uncertainty by the CPSO’s bullish stance on assisted suicide.
The CPSO’s conscience-hostile position is both unnecessary and unjust. . . [Full text]