Fifty Covenant Health physicians write open letter against Bill 207
A private member’s bill to protect the conscience rights of health professionals in Alberta is still fighting for survival.
United Conservative Party MLA Dan Williams plans to advocate for Bill 207, the Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act, well into the new year. Williams’ bill would ensure health practitioners — and organizations — can conscientiously decline a procedure without worry that they would be penalized or, at worst, lose their job. . .[Full text]
‘We don’t support abandoning our patients,’ Edmonton doctor says
A controversial conscience rights bill that critics say would reduce access to health care is back up for discussion in the legislature Monday — and Edmonton doctors are urging the government to vote it down.
On Nov. 21, the standing committee on private bills and private members’ public bills determined Bill 207 should not move forward for debate. The legislature will vote Monday on whether to accept the all-party committee’s recommendation.
“This bill needs to die,” said Dr. Shelley Duggan, a critical care physician who works at Covenant Health facilities in Edmonton. . . [Full text]
Sarah Hoffman acknowledges public complaints following CBC News investigation
Health Minister Sarah Hoffman says her ministry is reviewing options that would allow Alberta Health Services to provide medical assistance in dying at faith-based health facilities while respecting religious objections, although she cautions the province is “not there yet.”
In an interview, Hoffman said she has received public feedback urging her to reverse her 2016 exemption that allowed Catholic health provider Covenant Health, which is publicly funded, to opt out of providing access to the procedure. . . [Full text]
Imagine . . . being the first hospital in human history to be closed for refusing to kill patients in its care.
In February, the archbishop of Edmonton announced that in the event of legalized euthanasia, physicians and other health-care workers of Covenant Health Hospital would not be participating in the active termination of patients’ lives.
In response last month, Alberta’s associate health minister Brandy Payne stated that Covenant Health’s conscientious objection would be respected, and that patients requesting life termination there would be transferred. That seems reasonable. After all, when conscripted soldiers refuse to go to war for reasons of conscience, they are not asked to provide their own combat replacement.
In Quebec, by contrast, where euthanasia is already in effect, any Christian institution that refuses to comply with the legislation will be shut down. (Imagine the dubious distinction of being the first hospital in human history to be closed for refusing to kill patients in its care.)
Ethics-based tension in the medical community is but one of many concerns we must acknowledge to be inherent in Bill C-14. . . [Full Text]
Transferring patients would be ‘unfortunate,’ says Dying with Dignity Edmonton co-chair Bradley Peter
Advocates for physician-assisted death are condemning a decision which will allow Covenant Health to opt out provincial regulations on the practice.
The Supreme Court of Canada ordered the federal government to have a law in place allowing physician-assisted death by June 6. But the bill addressing that order still faces a battle in the Senate, so it appears unlikely the deadline will be met. Meanwhile, provincial governments are still grappling with how to address regulations for the new law.
The Alberta government has said Convenant Health – a Catholic-run and publicly funded health organization – will be allowed to opt out for conscience reasons. Patients at hospitals and continuing-care facilities run by Covenant Health will be transferred to other health facilities if they seek a physician-assisted death. . .[Full Text]