The anti-vaccination movement that gripped Victorian England

BBC News

Greig Watson

The distrust of doctors and government that feeds the anti-vaccination movement might be seen as a modern phenomenon, but the roots of today’s activism were put down well over a century ago.

In the late 19th Century, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in opposition to compulsory smallpox vaccinations. There were arrests, fines and people were even sent to jail.

Banners were brandished demanding “Repeal the Vaccination Acts, the curse of our nation” and vowing “Better a felon’s cell than a poisoned babe”. Copies of hated laws were burned in the streets and the effigy was lynched of the humble country doctor who was seen as to blame for the smallpox prevention programme. . . [Full text]

Controversial conscience rights bill in limbo as fall sitting wraps up

Standing committee recommended Bill 207 not proceed to second reading

CBC News

Michelle Bellefontaine

The fate of a controversial private members’ bill on conscience rights for medical providers is in limbo as the fall sitting of the Alberta legislature wraps up this week.

On Monday, MLAs were to debate whether they would accept a report from the standing committee on private bills and private members’ bills, which recommended Bill 207 not proceed to second reading. . . the house was suddenly adjourned after a man died by suicide on the steps of the legislature building.  . . [Full text]

Majority of people support legalising assisted suicide in Ireland

Campaigners have called for changes to the Irish law on assisted dying.

thejounal.ie

Dominic McGrath

A MAJORITY OF Irish people believe that assisted suicide should be legalised in Ireland.

The latest Amárach/Claire Byrne Live poll for TheJournal.ie found that 55% of people think that assisted suicide should be legal in Ireland. 

The poll found that 22% opposed the legalisation of assisted suicide, while 23% said they didn’t know. . .[Full text]

The SNC-Lavalin affair raises the issue of politicians’ conflict between their conscience and party politics.

There are good reasons to favour conscience.

Policy Options

Brian Bird

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]

Bishop calls on Scotland’s first minister to affirm conscience rights of party members

Crux

Charles Collins

LEICESTER, United Kingdom – A Catholic bishop in Scotland is urging the country’s political leadership to affirm freedom of conscience, “and hold in high regard those in public life who remain true to their conscience, even at the expense of personal popularity or political advantage.”

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, the president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, made his comments in a letter to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. . . [Full text]

A question of conscience: In doing the bidding of their political masters, how far are Hong Kong police willing to go?

Hong Kong Free Press

Keiran Colvert

Here’s a question for every officer in the Hong Kong police – if the Hong Kong government asked you to shoot to kill to clear protesters from the streets would you do it? This might sound like a far-fetched scenario in Hong Kong – a place which has, until now, been dramatically different from Mainland China in terms of citizen’s rights and the rule of law. Having witnessed the grim scenes unfolding in Admiralty yesterday, and given that two people are currently in intensive care as a result of the police action, this question, unfortunately, may become all too relevant for people serving in the Hong Kong police. . . [Full text]

Conscience fight moves to the political arena

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

Having lost twice in court, the battle for conscience rights for health care workers in Ontario is now a political battle.

“We feel we really need legislation,” said Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada executive director Deacon Larry Worthen. “It’s basically for us a call to action.”

The latest setback came May 15 when the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling upheld a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) requirement that doctors in the province must give referral for medical services such as assisted dying and abortion that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. . . [Full text]

Peadar Tóibín suspended from Sinn Féin for six months for voting against abortion legislation

thejournal.ie

Christina Finn

SINN FÉIN’S PEADAR Tóibín has been suspended from the party for six months.

Disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against the Meath TD, who broke ranks with his party’s policy by voting against the abortion legislation in the Dáil last month.

As indicated by Sinn Féin party leader Mary Lou McDonald in April, Tóibín would face suspension from the party for doing so. . . [Full text]

Munich university remembers executed students: “Law changes, the conscience doesn’t”

Ludwig Maximilians Universität München

Justice, freedom, human rights, moral consciousness, courage, willingness to accept responsibility – what do these values and virtues cost? . . . On 18 February 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl were arrested by the Gestapo, after they had scattered copies of their latest leaflet around the Main University Building. Further arrests were made in the days following and, in several separate trials, the leading members of the White Rose were convicted by an inhuman regime and put to death. [Full text]