State health authority says arrangement preserves Catholic identity
St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, will begin providing euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS). The hospital had refused to provide the services because they were considered to be contrary to the Catholic identity of the hospital. The change of policy appears to have been forced by the threat of a lawsuit by EAS advocates. A campaign to force the hospital to permit EAS services had been ongoing for some time [See 958 days without medical assistance in dying policy, Ban on assisted dying at St. Martha’s hospital should end, says law prof].
St. Martha’s was established by a Catholic religious order, the Sisters of St. Martha. However, in 1996 the order transferred ownership of the hospital to the state. The terms of the transfer were set out in a “Mission Assurance Agreement” that required the state to ensure that “the philosophy, mission and values of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital would remain the same and the hospital would keep its faith-based identity.”1
Notwithstanding the terms of the agreement, from 1996 the hospital was not legally a private or Catholic institution, even though it is popularly known as “Nova Scotia’s only Catholic hospital .”2 EAS advocates argued that state ownership of the hospital made it a state actor obliged to provide euthanasia and assisted suicide.1 Logically, this would also apply to abortion, surgical sterilizations, and other procedures contrary to Catholic teaching.
The Nova Scotia Health Authority states that the change of policy is consistent with “the spirit of the Mission Assurance Agreement,”3 which seems to imply that a way has been found for the hospital to “keep its [Catholic] faith-based identify” while providing euthanasia and assisted suicide.
1. Downie J, GilbertD. Nova Scotia now a leader in medical assistance in dying [Internet]. The Chronicle Herald. 2019 Sep 19.
2. Willick F. Ban on assisted dying at St. Martha’s hospital should end, says law prof [Internet]. CBC News. 2018 Dec 28.
3. Lord R, Quon A. NSHA quietly changes medically assisted dying policy at Catholic hospital [Internet]. Global News. 2019 Sep 18.
More Canadians eligible for assisted death: lawyer
The Chronicle Journal
VANCOUVER – The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and a woman with a degenerative illness have adjourned their lawsuit challenging the federal assisted-dying law after they say government evidence expanded eligibility for the procedure.
The law says that only people who have a “reasonably foreseeable” natural death qualify, but a government expert has filed a report that states some doctors are now interpreting this category to include people who refuse care that would prolong their lives. . . . [Full text]
Medically-assisted dying became a discussion point on the second day of the 2019 federal election trail, as leaders reacted to a ruling by the Quebec Superior Court that part of the country’s law is “unconstitutional.”
On Wednesday, a Quebec judge ruled that both the province’s and country’s laws on assisted dying were too restrictive and therefore discriminated against some who sought the procedure. . . [Full text]
A Quebec Superior Court judge has invalidated sections of both the federal and Quebec laws on medically assisted dying, ruling Wednesday they were too restrictive and therefore unconstitutional.
Justice Christine Baudouin found in favour of two Quebecers struck by incurable degenerative diseases who’d argued they were denied a medically assisted death under laws that are discriminatory. . . [Full text]
Similar to hospice care, The Cider House would provide a homelike space for patients to access the procedure.
Saskatoon Star Phoenix
A group of health care workers in Saskatoon have started a fundraiser for a dedicated in-patient facility to provide Medical Assistance in Death (MAiD).
Similar to hospice care, The Cider House would provide a homelike space for patients to access the procedure, staffed by either a doctor or nurse practitioner and a team of end-of-life doulas. . . [Full text]
There are good reasons to favour conscience.
The SNC-Lavalin affair, which continues to reverberate, raises many issues in a democracy dominated by political parties — and all these issues take on greater relevance with a federal election approaching. One of them is the conflict that can arise between the conscience of a politician and the strictures of party politics, in a variety of contexts, and how that conflict should be resolved. When our representatives are voting on legislation, there are good reasons to favour conscience. . . [Full Text]
The Globe and Mail
British Columbia’s physician regulator has cleared a doctor of any wrongdoing for sneaking into an Orthodox Jewish nursing home that forbids assisted death and ending the life of a resident who wanted to die in his own bed.
In a letter dated July 5, 2019, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) dismissed an official complaint against Ellen Wiebe, saying the Vancouver doctor did not break any of the regulator’s rules when she helped Barry Hyman, 83, die inside the Louis Brier Home and Hospital. . . [Full text]
The Ottawa Citizen
Dear Perth residents, I am sorry.
My name is Emma Cronk, and I was raised on my parents’ 2,000-acre ranch in Parham, Ont., north of Kingston. I am currently a family medicine resident physician in Atlanta, Georgia at Emory University.
I tried for two application cycles for medical school in Canada, and applied broadly: from Ontario medical schools, to the east coast at Memorial University, to the west coast at University of British Columbia. After two years of rejection letters, I decided to apply internationally at Ross University School of Medicine in the Caribbean. I had come to realize that a lot of Canadian students were following this same path. . . [Full text]
The executive director of the SHORE Centres says many family doctors are still not prescribing the pill
A local sexual health resource centre says it’s experiencing so much demand for the abortion pill, Mifegymiso, that patients often must wait two to three weeks to get it.
Mifegymiso is the brand name for the combination of two pills that is used to terminate pregnancies—but only up to nine weeks along. . .[Full text]
The Globe and Mail
Alberta’s medical regulator is calling on the college representing Canada’s family doctors to help it boost prescribing rates of the abortion pill, saying the current poor access in the province is putting patients at risk . . .
. . . A Globe and Mail investigation on Saturday revealed that the majority of abortion-pill prescriptions across Canada are being written at abortion clinics, which are primarily located in large urban centres. . .[Full text]