Rules for doctors, pharmacists tightened in new religious discrimination bill

Sydney Morning Herald

Judith Ireland

A pharmacist could refuse to dispense contraception and a doctor could refuse to provide fertility treatment under the government’s proposed new religious discrimination laws, provided they declined to provide that particular service to all patients.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the second draft of the religious discrimination bill, released on Tuesday, would allow doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and psychologists to conscientiously object as long as it was “to a procedure, not a person”. . . [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]

Rally against ‘conscience rights’ Bill 207 gathers hundreds at legislature

CTV News

Alex Antoneshyn

EDMONTON — Criticism swelled on Saturday of a new private member’s bill that would undo a requirement of doctors to refer treatment or service which goes against their beliefs, as protestors rallied at the Alberta Legislature to express their concern.

Sanda Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare, called Bill 207, The Conscience Rights Protection Act, an unnecessary piece of proposed legislation that would cause discrimination and harm. . . [Full text]

Calgary-area UCP MLAs say they won’t support conscience rights bill

Calgary Herald

 Zach Laing

A pair of Calgary MLAs say they won’t support a controversial private-member’s bill meant to extend protection for physicians’ conscience rights.

Introduced in the legislature last week by Peace River MLA and UCP backbencher Dan Williams, Bill 207 would prevent patients from submitting a professional complaint or suing a health-care worker for failing to provide a service if medical staff objects to it. The bill would also add “conscientious beliefs” as grounds protected from discrimination in the Alberta Human Rights Act. . . [Full text]

UCP MLA denies conscience rights bill limits health care access

Backbench MLA faces continued questions about potential implications of Bill 207

CBC News

Michelle Bellefontaine

The Alberta UCP MLA behind a controversial bill on conscience rights for health care providers says the bill isn’t intended to cut access to services like abortion and medical assistance in dying as critics have charged.

“I feel there is some misinformation about what the bill is trying to do and what it does do,” Peace River MLA Dan Williams told reporters Friday.   

“I want to be absolutely clear. This bill in no way categorically limits access to any services. That was not my intent, that is not what the bill does.” . . . [Full text]

MLAs can vote their conscience on health providers conscience rights bill, premier says

 Edmonton Journal

 Janet French

 The premier won’t whip United Conservative Party MLA votes on a private members’ bill that could leave Alberta women without legal recourse if an objecting doctor refuses to refer her to a colleague for an abortion or contraception.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said at a Friday press conference his government will “always have free votes” on bills introduced to the legislature by individual MLAs, as compared to government bills. . . [Full text]

Jason Kenney Still Silent On Alberta’s Controversial ‘Conscience Rights’ Bill

Critics fear the bill will restrict access to abortion and LGBTQ health care.

Huffington Post

Melanie Woods

As doctors and medical associations speak out against Alberta’s controversial conscience rights bill, which would allow doctors to refuse referrals for services they’re morally or religiously opposed to, such as abortion or assisted dying, the province’s premier remains silent. 

The private member’s bill introduced by United Conservative Party (UCP) MLA Dan Williams passed first reading last week, with unanimous support from the party’s MLAs in attendance for the vote. It will now move to a second reading, which involves debate in the Alberta legislature. . . [Full text]

Advocates concerned Alberta conscience rights bill could put trans people at risk

Bill reopens debate on physicians’ conscience rights

CBC News

Jordan Omstead

Advocates say a bill before the Alberta legislature, purported to defend the conscience rights of health-care professionals, could effectively legalize discrimination against transgender people.

Critics say the bill strips the requirement for health-care professionals to refer a patient to another physician if the patient’s needs conflict with their personal or religious beliefs.

“This bill, as it stands, is going to create a situation where there will be legal, government-sanctioned discrimination,” said Holly Tomm, president of the Trans Equality Society of Alberta.

“It needs to be stopped.” . . . [Full text]

Reaction grows to bill that would allow doctors to refuse procedures based on moral objections

Some say the bill could put women’s and LGBTQ rights in question

CBC News

Natalie Valleau

Public debate swelled Friday after United Conservative Party MLAs voted to advance a private member’s bill that some say could put women’s and LGBTQ rights in question.

The bill would not only let Alberta doctors refuse to advise or assist on things they object to due to for personal or religious beliefs — like abortions, contraception or medically assisted death (MAID) — but also drops the current obligation that they steer patients elsewhere for help. . . [Full text]

US paid to tie down, blindfold, sterilize indigenous Peruvian women. Now they’re suing

LifeSite News

Martin M. Barillas

LIMA, Peru, November 7, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – After more than 20 years, women who were forcibly sterilized will have their day in court as prosecutors in Peru intend to charge a former president and government officials with serious human rights abuses.

Former President Alberto Fujimori of Peru (1990-2000) and other former high-ranking government officials will face a court in December for their involvement in forced sterilizations of women, which caused the death of at least one woman in the Andean republic. Fujimori, 81, promoted his Voluntary Chemical Contraception Program in the 1990s to supposedly level the playing field and provide to poor women contraception that they would not be able to afford without government assistance. Contraception services in Peru were subsidized by U.S. taxpayers through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). . . [Full text]