Alberta’s doctors say they worry about the effects of a conscience rights bill

The Globe and Mail

Christina Frangou

Dr. Jillian Demontigny keeps a rainbow bracelet wrapped around the stethoscope that she drapes across her neck. It’s her signal to any LGBTQ patient who arrives at her clinic: you are welcome here.

Dr. Demontigny is one of 13 physicians working at the Taber Clinic, a family medicine clinic in a southern Alberta town of 8,500 people. Over her 14 years in Taber, she has expanded her practice to offer extra supports for patients looking for the kind of health care that can be hard to access in this rural, conservative region, where anti-abortion billboards are posted along the highway. . . [Full text]

Over 12,000 calls made to HSE helpline about unplanned pregnancies in first year of abortion services in Ireland

The Irish Sun

Julieann Corr

THERE were 12,080 calls made to the HSE helpline about unplanned pregnancies between January and the end of November 2019, estimate figures have revealed.

Data also shows that the MyOptions website was accessed over 331,000 times this year – in the first year of abortion services in Ireland.

Official figures regarding the operation of the service is set to be published during 2020. . .[Full text]

No one obliged to cooperate with ‘unjust’ NI abortion law – bishops

The Irish Catholic

Róise McGagh

Northern Ireland’s bishops have said new abortion laws in Northern Ireland are “unjust” and that no one is obliged to cooperate with them.

Currently there is a regulatory framework in place in the North that governs abortion provision until more permanent legislation is expected to be introduced in three months.

“The new regulatory framework in Northern Ireland should provide all health professionals including midwives, nurses and ancillary staff working in hospitals and other community settings with the right to refuse to participate in any aspect of the delivery of abortion services such as consultation, administration, preparation, in addition to the direct and intentional act of abortion itself,” the bishops said. They added this should include pharmacists. . .[Full text]

New government publishes new guidelines for non-punishable abortions

Change will make it harder for hospitals to deny women seeking to terminate pregnancies in cases of rape or endangerment to their health.

Buenos Aires Times

The Health Ministry has published new guidelines for non-punishable abortions in Argentina, moving to guarantee access for those seeking to end pregnancies that are a result of rape or endanger the mother’s life.

The new protocol, published in the Official Gazette just three days after Alberto Fernández was sworn-in as president, is a move to guarantee access for those who meet the conditions.

“The protocol will be used as a guide, especially in cases where the law clearly allows for the interruption of pregnancies,” Health Minister Ginés González García told a press conference. . . the Health Ministry also advised that conscientious objection “will not be considered an institutional excuse to not comply with the law.” [Full text]

‘Considerable unwillingness’ to participate in medical abortions by Irish GPs — study

Irish Medical Times

Lloyd Mudiwa

There is a lack of training and a considerable level of unwillingness among Irish GPs to participate in the medical termination of pregnancy, a study, the first to look at the issue in Ireland, has concluded.

“There is a lack of training and considerable level of unwillingness to participate in this process among Irish GPs,” the research team stated in their research report.

“There is also a perceived lack of patient support services for women experiencing unwanted pregnancy. It is incumbent upon state and professional bodies to address these issues.” [Full text]

‘Abortion skills’ training for medics prompts concerns for pro-life students

Christian Today

Staff Writer

The Christian Institute has raised concerns about the right to conscientious objection after the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said it would teach and assess “abortion skills”. 

In its ‘Better for Women’ document, the RCOG is calling on the General Medical Council (GMC) to “review the Undergraduate medical curriculum to include the importance of abortion care to students”. . .

The RCOG added it would “teach abortion skills as a part of its core curriculum and assess those skills through examination”. . . [Full text]

10% of GPs have signed up to provide abortion services, HSE confirm

BreakingNews.ie

Sarah Slater

Almost a year since abortion services were legalised in Ireland just over 300 GPs have agreed to carry out the procedure, according to new figures.

The procedure known as, Termination of Pregnancy (TOP), was signed into law, by President Michael D Higgins, and introduced on January 1 this year.

At the start of this month, 347 GPs had signed up to provide the service. There are 3,500 GPs nationwide, a third of whom are women. . . [Full text]

Bill 207 may have served its true purpose

Medicine Hat News

Jeremy Appel

Bill 207 has been aborted, at least for the time being.

The controversial piece of legislation, which would have allowed health-care providers to refuse to provide certain medical services under the guise of “freedom of conscience,” was quashed Thursday night in committee.

It was a thinly-veiled effort to roll back abortion, assisted suicide and transgender rights as a concession to the religious right. It rightfully provoked fierce public backlash from the very health-care providers whose rights it purported to protect. . . [Full text]

Religious Discrimination Bill may deny ‘vulnerable’ rural patients health care, AMA warns

ABC News

Lauren Roberts

The health of “vulnerable” people living in remote communities across Australia could be put at risk if the Commonwealth pushes ahead with its Religious Discrimination Bill 2019, experts say.

Australian Medical Association NT president Dr Rob Parker has written to Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter asking for significant changes to the proposed legislation.

Dr Parker was concerned conservative doctors could deny vulnerable patients health care on moral grounds, leaving them with few other options. . . [Full text]

Controversial conscience rights bill for Alberta physicians voted down

‘This is a very political thing and a very cynical thing and it is not about physicians’

CBC News

Wallis Snowdon

A controversial private member’s bill that called for more protection for Alberta health workers who invoke conscience rights was rejected Thursday by an all-party committee of the legislature. 

The Conscience Rights Act for Healthcare Workers, or Bill 207  — introduced by Peace River MLA and UCP (United Conservative Party) backbencher Dan Williams — would have meant doctors could not be sued or sanctioned for refusing to provide a service that goes against their moral beliefs. 

Some doctors and patient advocates said the bill would limit access to medical services such as contraception, abortion and assisted dying. . .[Full text]