Canadian doctors face questions over assisted suicide, euthanasia for minors

” . . .conscientious objection in Canada, unfortunately, hangs by a thread . . .”

The Catholic Register

Catholic News Agency

Ottawa – Only one year after assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia became legal for adults in Canada, a new study is showing that some of the country’s pediatricians are being faced with questions about the practices for minors.

The study, which surveyed 1,050 doctors and was published by the Canadian Paediatric Society, found that more than ten percent of Canadian pediatricians have had conversations with parents or minors about the option of assisted suicide or euthanasia for terminal patients under the age of 18. . . [Full text]

Ontario conscience rights case now in judges’ hands

Catholic Register

Michael Swan

TORONTO – Three days and nearly two dozen lawyers arguing the broad principles and technical details of constitutional law before a three-judge has panel left Christian Medical and Dental Society executive director Deacon Larry Worthen “cautiously optimistic.”

“The court certainly heard our arguments,” Worthen told The Catholic Register on June 15 outside the courtroom as lawyers shook hands and dispersed in the hallways of historic Osgoode Hall.

The trial before the Ontario Court of Justice was likely the first leg in a battle all the combatants expect will end in at the Supreme Court of Canada. Five dissenting Christian doctors who all object to abortion, chemical birth control, petri-dish human fertilization and assisted suicide asked the court to strike down a 2015 College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario rule that forces them to provide an “effective referral” for services they reject on the basis of their religious faith or conscience. . . [Full text]

 

Conservative MPP Yurek keeps up fight for conscience rights with bill

The Catholic Register

Evan Boudreau

The Ontario Liberals’ rejection of amendments to its assisted suicide legislation leaves MPP Jeff Yurek “very disappointed” but not defeated as the Conservative prepares to introduce a private member’s bill to protect conscience rights for doctors and health care workers.

On May 18, the Conservative’s bill will be brought forward to the legislature for an evaluation of the pros and cons. While Yurek expects scrutiny similar to that which faced Bill 84 amendments, he’s still hopeful to garner support from the majority of his political peers.

But that will require the votes of Liberal MPPs, who Yurek hopes will be influenced by their conscience and not the will of party leaders. . . [Full text]

 

Conscience rights protection amendments voted down

Catholic Register

Michael Swan

The majority Liberal government at Queen’s Park has crushed an opposition attempt to incorporate conscience protections for doctors in its legislation on assisted suicide.

The government majority on the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs voted down two versions of a Progressive Conservative amendment to Bill-84 that would have removed the threat of license suspensions and other disciplinary actions against doctors who refuse to make an “effective referral” for medical assistance in dying (MAID).

New Democratic Party representatives on the committee abstained on the issue. . . [Full text]

 

Amendments to protect conscience rights on the table

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

Amendments to a government bill have been forward that would protect Ontario’s doctors and nurses who, for reasons of conscience, cannot refer for medical assistance in dying (MAID).

Conscience rights for doctors are coming up for a vote at Queen’s Park as amendments to Bill-84 which smooths the way for voluntary euthanasia makes its way through committee towards its final reading in the legislature.

Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek has put forward two versions of an amendment that would protect doctors and nurses who will not refer for MAID. The Yurek amendments protect medical professionals both from civil liability and from disciplinary action by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. . . [Full text]

 

Naturopath doctor argues for conscience rights protection

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

A naturopath stole the show as hearings began into Ontario’s enabling legislation for doctor assisted suicide at Queen’s Park on March 23.

Conscience rights aren’t primarily about religion, but rather about the convictions of citizens and the obligation governments have to respect and protect citizens and their convictions, Dr. Nora Pope told members of the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.

“I won’t refer for killing because I don’t believe in killing,” Pope told legislators as she pleaded for an amendment to Bill 84 to protect the conscience rights of medical practitioners. . . [Full text]

 

Conscience rights to be addressed by Ontario legislators

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

The right being sought by many Ontario doctors to refuse to give patient referrals for euthanasia and assisted suicide will be addressed in committee meetings at Queen’s Park in the next month.

Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek plans to introduce a conscience-protection amendment to legislation currently being debated in the Ontario legislature.

Now in second reading, Bill 84 is designed to clear up legal ambiguities surrounding doctor-assisted suicide — everything from how coroners are to record assisted suicide deaths to the right of families to collect insurance benefits. However, the legislation currently does not include conscience protection for doctors. Instead, Ontario’s independent regulator for doctors requires all doctors to provide an “effective referral” for procedures, even if the doctor objects on moral, religious or conscience grounds. . . [Full text]

 

Legal group fights policy forcing pro-life doctors to refer for abortion, euthanasia

Lifesite News

Steve Weatherbe

TORONTO, February 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Calgary conscience rights group has joined Ontario Christian doctors in fighting a requirement that they refer patients for euthanasia and abortion — and perform both procedures in emergencies.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) was granted intervenor status in a legal action launched by five Ontario Christian doctors, the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada (CMDS), and other doctors’ groups.

Their target is the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which controls the profession with the power to licence and de-licence doctors. In June, the Christian doctors will go to court in an attempt to have two new college policies ruled unconstitutional. . . .[Full text]

 

Archdiocese launches conscience campaign to protect doctors

The Catholic Register

Evan Boudreau

As Catholic doctors and other conscientious objectors face discipline that could include losing their medical license, the Archdiocese of Toronto has launched an eight-week campaign to promote “robust conscience protection” for health care workers.

The initiative comes on the heels of the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide and, in Ontario, a refusal to allow doctors to totally opt out of the process. No doctor is required to end the life of a patient, but those who object to doctor-assisted killing are required to provide an “effective referral,” even when such referrals go against their religious and moral beliefs. . . . [Full text]

 

Pastoral document may allow those opting for assisted dying sacraments

Atlantic bishops’ assisted-suicide document may impact conscience rights say some observers

BC Catholic

Deborah Gypaong

Critics of the Atlantic bishops’ new pastoral document on assisted dying say it could open the way in some cases to reception of the sacraments for those who decide to end their lives.

The Atlantic Episcopal Assembly (AEA) document stresses compassionate accompaniment for those contemplating euthanasia or assisted suicide, but it may ultimately weaken conscience rights for Catholic health-care workers and Catholic institutions, say some observers. . . .[Full text]