Conscience protection bill: first reading in the House of Lords

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.

Pro-life Doctor Challenging Illinois Law That Forces Docs to Counsel Patients on Abortion “Benefits”

New American

Raven Clabough

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]

 

Freedom for conscientious objectors needs protection

Waterloo Region Record

Stephen Woodworth

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]

 

2 more resignations follow St. Boniface Hospital decision on assisted death

‘It would have been hypocritical for me to continue sitting’ on St. Boniface subcommitte, says Dr. Ken Hahlweg

CBC News

Kelly Malone

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]

 

GPhC improves guidance on Pharmacists’ conscience rights

Christian Concern

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]