Doctors can object to procedures, not specific patients, under revised religious discrimination bill

RACGP President Dr Harry Nespolon cautiously welcomed the revisions, saying the college will ‘carefully consider’ the revised bill.

News GP

Doug Hendrie

Under the revisions, conscientious objectors could refuse to provide treatments to which they objected on religious grounds, as long as the refusal is a blanket ban.

Speaking at a press conference, Attorney-General Christian Porter said the revised bill means it would be acceptable for a GP to, for example, refuse to ‘engage in hormone therapies’ for transgender patients broadly, but not for an individual patient only.

The revisions are intended to rule out discrimination, Mr Porter said. . . [Full text]

Woman suing two pharmacies after being denied emergency contraception

The US case brings to light concerns around conscientious objection at a time when a federal religious discrimination bill is being debated in Australia

AJP

Sheshtyn Paola

A woman has filed a lawsuit against a Thrifty White Pharmacy and a CVS Pharmacy in Minnesota in the US, alleging the two pharmacies illegally kept her from accessing emergency contraception.

Andrea Anderson, a 39-year-old mother of five, says she asked the pharmacist at her drugstore in Minnesota more than once why he couldn’t fill her prescription for emergency contraception, according to the Star Tribune.

“I then realised what was happening: he was refusing to fill my prescription for emergency contraception because he did not believe in it,” Ms Anderson said on Tuesday. . . [Full text]

Doctors call for end of conscience rights bill up for discussion today

‘We don’t support abandoning our patients,’ Edmonton doctor says

CBC News

Anna McMillan

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]

Bill removes checks on doctors who put conscience over patients’ well-being

174 Alberta physicians sign letter against protection of conscience bill

Edmonton Journal

Michelle Jung

Please consider this letter of concern regarding Bill 207 Conscience Rights Protection Act. As practising physicians, we have significant concerns with this legislation.

Physicians have numerous responsibilities, of which the most important is protecting the interests of our patients. Section 4(a) states that “Despite any provision of the Health Professions Act, a regulatory body may not impose a requirement on a health care provider that may result in the health care provider being compelled, directly or indirectly, to perform a health care service that they determine would infringe their conscientious beliefs.” . . .[Full text]

Consultation, possible changes after pushback against conscience rights bill

Edmonton Journal

Lisa Johnson

Backbench UCP MLA Dan Williams continued to take heat from the NDP Opposition Monday for introducing conscience rights legislation and offered changes to the controversial bill meant to protect health-care access.

“My intention with offering these amendments is a genuine olive branch, a genuine attempt to say ‘the purpose of this bill is to protect conscience rights, and in no way has any desire to limit access,’” said Williams, MLA for Peace River, in a committee on private member’s bills. . . [Full text]