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Protection of Conscience Project

www.consciencelaws.org

Service, not Servitude

Ethics


GENERAL

Regulator's proposal to remove pharmacists' conscience rights is unethical, unnecessary and quite possibly illegal

  • Peter Saunders* | Should pharmacists be forced to dispense drugs for what they consider to be unethical practices – like emergency contraception, gender reassignment, abortion and assisted suicide?  Or should they have the right to exercise freedom of conscience by either referring to a colleague or opting out? The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the independent British regulator for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy premises, is proposing to replace the current 'right to refer' with a 'duty to dispense'. . .
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A watchdog in need of a leash
Ontario College of Physicians manipulates consultation process

  • Sean Murphy* |  . . .a working group at the College of Physicians and Surgeons released a draft policy . . .for a second stage of consultation. . .  The most contentious element in POHR is a requirement that physicians who object to a procedure for reasons of conscience must help the patient find a colleague who will provide it.  The consultation process is intended to provide the public and members of the profession an opportunity to comment on policies being developed by the College . . . Remarkably, it appears that the College is attempting to manipulate the current consultation process by intervening in the Discussion Forum in order to discredit critics and defend its draft policy. . .
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Respect for conscience must be a social value

  • Margaret Somerville* | An effort is also underway by pro-abortion advocates. . . to have the United Nations declare access to abortion a universal human right. Healthcare professionals who, despite such coercion, follow their conscience risk a variety of legal threats. . . .[T]his state of affairs has caused deep concern for many healthcare professionals. What has led to this situation and what might be its wider consequences? To respond to that question and deal with this situation, I believe we need to understand two new realities, a political reality and a medical reality. . .
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Professionals or automatons?

  • Cristina Alarcon* | Should pharmacists have the right to act according to their consciences, or are they prescription-filling robots? . . . A Canadian pharmacist and bioethicist, Cristina Alarcon, explains what is at stake in her profession.
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Standing up for your beliefs

  • Cristina Alarcon* | . . . For the past 3 years I have been challenging our Pharmacy Licensing Body's Code of Ethics, which basically asks pharmacists to violate their conscience, to violate their deeply held belief that life is valuable from the moment of conception. . .
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Personal Beliefs and Professional Duties: Maintaining Your Integrity

  • Dr. Larry Reynolds* | In modern heath care the role of the physician is at risk of being reduced to becoming a mere tool of the patient's will. The doctor's role will be just to provide services that patients demand. Autonomy of the patient trumps all. This view impoverishes our profession, degrades doctors to mere technicians and will accelerate the moral wasting disease presently plaguing Canadian health care. . .
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The Hijacking of Moral Conscience from Pharmacy Practice: A Canadian Perspective

  • Cristina Alarcon* | . . .While Canadian pharmacy regulatory boards consider themselves to be world leaders in promoting professionalism and pharmaceutical care in pharmacy practice, most have failed to properly discharge their duty of care to pharmacists who seek to live a holistic private and professional life that is, for them, ethically coherent and unified. . .
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Conscientious Objectors: Canaries in the Ethical Mineshaft

  • Maria Bizecki* | . . .Freedom of conscience is an inalienable human right owed to everyone. Protection of conscience laws resist the development of a two-tier system of civil rights within health care professions, one tier being those who prescribe to a universal, unchangeable ethic, and the other tier being those who live by a relativistic, changing "majority opinion" ethic. . .
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Imposing our morality

  • Christian Medical Fellowship [United Kingdom] | Well, for a start, we can't refuse to diagnose and treat them just because they are sinners. We wouldn't see anybody. Where could we draw the line? Nitpickerus: It's not that which worries me. It's when they want us to help them do something which we regard as unethical . . .
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Healthcare without Conscience - Unconscionable!

  • Gene Rudd* | The governor of Illinois has told pharmacists to check their conscience at the door. They are not to allow their personal convictions to alter their professional activities. Specifically, pharmacies are to fill all legal prescriptions, even if doing so is contrary to deeply held moral or religious beliefs of the pharmacists. .
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Even Many Doctors Want to Force Colleagues to Violate Hippocratic Oath

  • Wesley J. Smith* | . . .forcing a doctor refer a patient to a provider that he or she knows will do the abortion or assist the suicide is to force the referring doctor to be complicit in those acts. Thus, while there certainly should be cooperation in transferring records from the original doctor to a replacement if a patient decides to go that route, no dissenting physicians should not be required ethically to participate directly or indirectly in acts that explicitly violate the Hippocratic Oath. . .
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Customer Isn't Always Right on Issues of Conscience

  • Susan Martinuk* | . . . let's not kid ourselves in saying that conscience issues are limited to the abortion debate. How we legislate matters of conscience now could ultimately (and intentionally) pave the road to drone-like response to customer-driven requests for chemicals and technologies that are highly controversial, deadly and/or have more to do with scientific and social experimentation than legitimate health care. . .
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Forced Speech: Pushing Against Conscientious Objection
by Medical Practitioners to Abortion in California

  • Wesley J. Smith* | I have been reporting that doctors and other medical professionals who wish to hold to an orthodox Hippocratic view of medical professionalism are going to increasingly be forced by law to either be complicit in these actions or become podiatrists. The most blunt method of destroying Hippocratic medicine in this manner is the new Victoria, Australia law requiring doctors to either perform an abortion upon request, or find another doctor for the patient who will. . .
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Pro-choicers deny doctors right to choose life

  • Susan Martinuk* | Abortion on demand may soon take on a whole new meaning in Alberta. The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons has rewritten its guidelines covering the standard of care that doctors must provide. . .
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Plan C for Conscience

  • Cristina Alarcon* | I was thrilled to learn that Washington State will be creating new rules for pharmacists who have conscientious objections to providing services or products they find morally objectionable. The new regulations would give plaintiffs in a Washington lawsuit -- the owners of Ralph's Thriftway pharmacy and two pharmacists -- the right to refuse to stock or dispense Plan B "morning after pill" based on their belief that life is sacred from the moment of conception. . .
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'We insist: leave your conscience at the door'

  • Cristina Alarcon* | I recently wrote an article expressing my delight that Washington State pharmacists will no longer be forced to dispense products or provide services they find morally objectionable. . . . My happiness at the Washington victory was . . . squelched by the plethora of intolerant, and in some cases highly dogmatic, statements posted by fellow pharmacists. . .
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Conscience Clauses: Responding to a divided ethic in health care

  • Wesley J. Smith* | This is the last 18 minutes of a lecture given in Seattle, Washington.  Beginning with his observation that assisted suicide is legal in Washington State, he explains the consequences of this for pharmacists, and goes on to discuss the need for protection of conscience laws. The title of this part of the lecture has been supplied by the Project.
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Address to College Council and Pharmacists AGM, College of Pharmacists of B.C.

  • Ann Nadalini* | . . .I will not be forced to dispense gravol injection, zopiclone, or ECP's, if I feel it is not in the best interest of my client. To do so would be to try to separate my intellect from my ethics. To do that would create a corrupt personality, which is untrue to my client and myself. . .
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Address to College Council and Pharmacists AGM, College of Pharmacists of B.C.

  • Cristina Alarcon* | . . .Since the inauguration of the new Code of Ethics in 1997, it has been insinuated that pharmacists are incapable of treating a client with due sensitivity and respect, while at the same time having the courage, integrity, and uprightness to act according to one's own convictions. . .
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