Should doctors have the right to refuse to treat a patient?

The Globe and Mail

Kelly Grant

Canada’s largest medical regulator is reviewing its policy on physicians and the human rights code, a document that wrestles with a thorny question: When can a doctor refuse to treat a patient on religious or moral grounds?

The review by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is a regularly scheduled revisiting of the policy, which was last updated amid controversy in 2008.

But the checkup also comes a few months after word spread online and in the mainstream media of a form letter distributed by three Ottawa doctors who declined to prescribe birth control because of their “religious values,” a rare example of physicians openly refusing – in writing – to provide services for religious reasons.

In another case that surfaced this week, a Calgary woman posted to Facebook a picture of a sign on the door of a walk-in clinic that read: “Please be informed the physician on duty today will not prescribe the birth control pill,” although the sign did not explain why. . . [Full text]

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