Laxalt signs on to letter supporting “conscience protections” for health workers with religious objections

The Nevada Independent

Michelle Rindels

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Adam Laxalt has signed on to a letter supporting a new set of regulations that aims to protect health workers who don’t want to perform abortions, help transgender patients transition or take other actions because of religious or moral objections.

Laxalt joined 16 other attorneys general in signing the March 27 letter to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter lauds the “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority” regulations, saying it’s important to return to obeying conscience protections enacted by Congress and restore the rule of law in Washington. . . [Full Text]

19 State Attorneys General Declare Opposition to HHS’ Proposed Conscientious Objection Rule

New York Law Journal

Kristen Rasmu

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule that would more vigorously protect health care providers’ ability to deny coverage in certain circumstances because of moral or religious beliefs should be withdrawn, according to a coalition of state attorneys general.

The proposed rule would strengthen the enforcement of existing regulations that allow providers to invoke conscientious objections as a basis for refusing to provide care that involves certain medical issues, including abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and others. It also would allow individual providers to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options. . . [Full Text]

The “Medical Conscience” Civil Rights Movement

First Things

Wesley J. Smith*

Until recently, healthcare was not culturally controversial. Medicine was seen as primarily concerned with extending lives, curing diseases, healing injuries, palliating symptoms, birthing babies, and promoting wellness – and hence, as a sphere in which people of all political and social beliefs were generally able to get along.

That consensus has been shattered. Doctors today may be asked to provide legal but morally contentious medical interventions such as sex selection abortion, assisted suicide, preimplantation genetic diagnosis of IVF embryos, even medications that inhibit the onset of puberty for minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria. As a consequence, medical practice has become embroiled in political and cultural conflict. . .
Full Text

Protection in the Bill for health staff with conscientious objection

Isle of Man Today

Health staff who have a conscientious objection to abortion will receive protection when the law is reformed.

Members approved an amendment, tabled by Chris Robertshaw (Douglas East), to set out the protection available to staff.

The final version of the amendment was the result of consultation between Mr Robertshaw and Dr Alex Allinson.

The bill already stipulated health workers could not be forced to take part in abortion treatment if they had a genuine conscientious objection. . . [Full text]

 

An effective referral is still a referral

Sanasi Jayawardena, Alexandra A Majerski

We are writing to respond to Dr. Steven Bodley’s letter: “Just the Facts on Effective Referral.” . . . The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO’s) effective referral policy for MAiD does not go far enough in protecting the religious freedom of physicians. . . It is unfortunate that the CPSO does not acknowledge that the provision of an “indirect” referral still renders the referring physician complicit. . . . medical students training in Ontario must now seriously consider taking their skills and talents to another province or jurisdiction in which they can practice their vocation in a manner that upholds their integrity. . . [Full Text]

Six things to know about the abortion bill

Main provisions of the General Scheme of a Bill to Regulate Termination of Pregnancy

The Irish Times

Minister for Health Simon Harris outlined in the Seanad some of the main provisions of the General Scheme of a Bill to Regulate the Termination of Pregnancy, if the referendum on whether to repeal the Eighth Amendment goes ahead and is passed:

1. Risk to life and health of the woman

. . . it would be the Government’s intention to permit termination of pregnancy in cases where there is a risk to the life or of serious harm to the health of the pregnant woman, without a distinction between risk from physical or mental health. . . .

2. Risk to health in an emergency

. . . would cover situations in which the risk to the life or of serious harm to the health of the pregnant woman is immediate.

3. Conditions likely to lead to the death of the foetus

. . . the Government would propose to permit termination of pregnancy on the grounds of a condition which is likely to lead to death before or shortly after birth.. .

4. Early pregnancy (12 weeks)

. . . it would be the Government’s intention to permit termination up to 12 weeks of pregnancy . . .

5.  Offences

. . . a woman who procures or seeks to procure a termination of pregnancy for herself . . . would not be guilty of an offence.

6. Other issues

. . . the Government would also propose to provide in legislation for a number of other issues . . . These would include, for example . . . permitting conscientious objection. . . . [Full Text]

How to be an Odd Doc Without Getting Your Goose Cooked

Dan Reilly

A presentation at a medical students’ forum hosted by Canadian Physicians for Life.

2:38 – 4:12  Ethical disputes: disagreeing about an “ought”

4:12 –  11:22  World views: dominant culture, ethics, law, decision making processes, religion, society, culture, experience, philosophy

11:22 – 13:58  The patient wants what you will not provide: ct scan, antibiotics, opioids, abortion, life support, contraception, pre-natal genetic tests, CPR, plastic surgery, elective C-sections, elective induction of labour

13:58 – 1834  fiduciary duty, patient access, moral distress

18:34 – 19:43  When patient asks for what you would like to provide, but can’t

19:43 –  21:44  When professional consensus is that you should say no

21:44 – 25:22  When physicians differ on what fiduciary duty dictates: full information, no abandonment

25:22 – 27:18  In some jursidictions, when refusing on moral grounds, in emergencies – provide service; otherwise- effective referral

27:18 –  32:55 Odd Docs and patients: why disputes arise, best practices: communication, compassion, care, honesty

32:55 – 36:24  Odd Docs and administrators: communication, compassion, do other work

Mexican Senate approves medical conscientious objection bill

Catholic News Agency

Mexico City, Mexico, Mar 26, 2018 / 06:14 pm (ACI Prensa).- The Mexican Senate has approved a measure protecting the conscientious objections of medical personnel who hold moral or ethical objections to certain treatments.

The decree, approved March 22, states that “professionals, technicians, aides, social service providers that are part of the National Healthcare System shall be able to invoke the right of conscientious objection and excuse themselves from participating and/or cooperating in all those programs, activities, practices, treatments, methods or research that contravenes their freedom of conscience based on their values or ethical principles.” . . . [Full text]

 

Mexico enacts provision protecting freedom of conscience for physicians, nurses

Sean Murphy*

Mexico has added a provision to its General Law on Health recognizing freedom of conscience of all physicians and nurses in relation to all services, except in emergencies and life-threatening situations.  In doing so, those responsible took note of existing provisions in The Bioethics Code for Health Personnel and The Code of Conduct for Health Personnel.  The latter includes a particularly striking passage:

32.  It should be emphasized that doctors are  professionals of science and conscience, and cannot be reduced to mere instruments of the patient’s will, since, like the patient, they  are free and responsible persons with a unique collection of values that regulate their lives.

There is no requirement for referral, which many objecting health care workers would find unacceptable because of concern that referral would make them complicit in what they believe to be wrongful conduct.  The new provision is specific to freedom of conscience and does not address issues of access and availability of non-objecting personnel, which will presumably be managed administrative measures or other legal means.

B.C. doctor cleared of wrongdoing for providing assisted death to woman who starved herself

Globe and Mail

Kelly Grant

British Columbia’s physician regulator has cleared a doctor of any wrongdoing for providing medical aid in dying to a woman who did not qualify for the procedure until she starved herself to the brink of death.

A committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) found that Ellen Wiebe did not break the regulator’s rules when she helped a 56-year-old patient known as Ms. S to die last year.

The case is the first to be made public in which a medical regulator has ruled on the contentious question of whether doctors should grant assisted deaths to patients who only satisfy all the criteria of the federal law after they stop eating and drinking.

“It was determined that Ms. S met the requisite criteria and was indeed eligible for medical assistance in dying, despite the fact that her refusal of medical treatment, food, and water, undoubtedly hastened her death and contributed to its ‘reasonable foreseeability,'” the college’s inquiry committee wrote in a Feb. 13 report. . . . [Full text]