Delta Hospice would rather lose funding

Delta Optimist

Sandar Gyarmati

It looks like the leadership of the Delta Hospice Society has decided to forgo substantial funding from the Fraser Health Authority by refusing to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD).

An article this week in The BC Catholic featured an interview with DHS board president Angelina Ireland who was quoted as saying the society rather lose funding, saying MAiD is completely incompatible with palliative hospice care. . . [Full text]

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]

Canadian hospice struggles against state demand to allow euthanasia

Hospice begs permission to refuse $750,000 in state funding

Euthanasia and assisted suicide available in state hospital next door

News Release

Delta Hospice Society

Vancouver area hospice is asking the government to reconsider their proposal to give up $750,000 a year in funding so that it not be required to violate its mandate of care and compassion for patients by providing Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) at its facility.

The health authority’s demand is unnecessary, the hospice contends, noting that the MAiD option is widely available at many other facilities, including one next door.

By forfeiting the government funding, the hospice would be under the 50% threshold set by the government and therefore exempt from providing MAiD.

Angelina Ireland, President of the Delta Hospice Society, said that the Society’s Charter specifically mandates it to provide compassionate care and support for persons in the last stages of living, so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.

“Helping and supporting patients to live fully and comfortably in their last days and giving support to them and their families is what our patients and families come to us for and expect and it is certainly what our staff are dedicated to providing. Taking steps to end a patient’s life is not providing care and support so that ‘they may live fully.’”

Fraser Health Authority ordered the Delta Hospice Society late last year to provide Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) claiming that failure to do so would be a breach of the Society’s agreement with the authority.

Ireland said in order to comply with the Authority’s instruction it would have to violate its legal commitments under the province’s Societies’ Act which requires them to follow their Charter. Further, DHS is not in breach of the Agreement. There is nothing in the Agreement which requires DHS to provide MAiD or allow it to be provided on its premises. The FHA is attempting to amend the Agreement by making a unilateral decision to impose an obligation, which in itself would be a contravention of the Agreement. The Fraser Health Authority’s new directive puts the Hospice Society in a difficult position of either honouring their Charter and legal obligations or acceding to what she called “an agenda-driven demand which ignores ourprimary function and pays no heed to the needs or wants of those patients and families we are caring for.”

The Delta Hospice Society has tried to work with the health authority, explaining the dilemma the order places upon them, outlining their function to assist patients live fully in their final days before natural death, and offering options to help settle the dispute but the Fraser Health Authority has refused to budge.

On January 15, 2020, Delta Hospice Society wrote the Fraser Health Authority to ask that they reconsider the proposal to give up the $750,000 a year in funding so that they may benefit from the exemption set out in a Ministry of Health policy.

Ireland said that giving up the funding would cause the Society to focus exclusively on their Hospice operations. The other services the Society provides to the community would be put on the back burner until alternative funding partnerships can be established. The Society is committed to continuing to provide the quality care it has provided since its founding in 1991, and protecting the Society’s mandate and organizational integrity.

Ireland noted further that there are many locations where MAiD is already available to those wishing to avail themselves of that option, including a facility next door.

“Nobody wanting such a service would be prevented access. The issue is not accessibility. It seems to be a purely agenda-driven demand that runs rough shod over both Delta Hospice Society’s desire to live up to its legal requirements under our Charter, as well as ignoring the reality that we are dealing with patients and families in a very vulnerable and delicate position.”

“Our goal,” she added, “is to fulfill our mission. And that is to help patients and their loved ones live quietly, comfortably, and as fully as possible in their final days of life.”

She reiterated the hospice’s desire to negotiate an equitable arrangement with the Fraser Health Authority to maintain Delta Hospice’s role of serving its patients well.

Contact: Angelina Ireland 778-512-8088; irelandangelina@gmail.com

Controversial conscience rights bill will die on order paper

Second session of 30th legislature starts on Feb. 25

CBC News

Michelle Bellefontaine

A controversial private member’s bill on conscience rights for medical providers will be dropped now that the government intends to prorogue the first session of the 30th legislature. 

Government House Leader Jason Nixon announced on Wednesday that the second session will start Feb. 25 with a speech from the throne. . . [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]

Here’s the deadline given to Delta Hospice

Delta Optimist

Sandor Gyarmati

The Fraser Health Authority has given the Delta Hospice Society a deadline to agree to provide medically assisted deaths.

The new board of the society has been on a collision course with the health region after reversing a decision by the previous board to not allow Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner.

A spokesperson with the region yesterday told the Optimist that the FHA “reached out again to the Delta Hospice Society to share our expectations that they comply to permit medical assistance in dying by February 3, 2020.” . . . [Full text]

Christian doctors continue the fight for conscience protections

Christian Medical & Dental Associations will appeal decision blocking Trump admin Conscience Rule

News Release

Becket

WASHINGTON – Religious medical professionals in New York have announced that they appealed a district court’s decision to block vital conscience protections for doctors and nurses. In New York v. HHS, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is defending Dr. Regina Frost and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) from attempts by Planned Parenthood and New York officials to force religious doctors to perform life-ending procedures that violate their consciences. The Trump administration has until Jan. 6 to join the appeal from the district court’s decision, which struck down one of the administration’s signature regulations.

In May 2019, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Conscience Rule to better enforce longstanding, bipartisan laws that, for decades, have promised to allow religious doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to serve patients without being required to violate their consciences. Medical professionals of all faith backgrounds and with moral objections rely on these well established protections. The Rule holds HHS funding recipients to agreements that they made under existing federal statutes to accommodate religious health professionals. But several states and abortion provider and advocacy organizations—including the State of New York and Planned Parenthood, which have long accepted HHS funds—immediately sued to avoid enforcement of their existing agreements under the Rule and to push religious healthcare professionals like Dr. Frost out of the medical profession.

“My faith is at the heart of who I am. It is what drives me to put the needs of women and their children first every day, and to serve everyone in my care with dignity and respect,” said Dr. Regina Frost. “If the government forces me to violate my faith and my medical judgment to perform abortions, I’ll have no choice but to leave the profession.”

Dr. Frost is an OB-GYN and one of nearly 19,000 medical professionals in CMDA serving vulnerable populations in the United States and abroad. Across the country, CMDA members serve the homeless, prisoners living with HIV, and victims of opioid addiction, sex trafficking, and gang violence. Overseas, CMDA members serve in war zones, refugee clinics, and remote areas without quality healthcare. The lawsuit by Planned Parenthood and New York needlessly threatens the health and well-being of at-risk, underserved populations across the globe. New polling shows that healthcare professionals are committed to serving all patients but are facing increasing pressures to perform in certain procedures, which they believe end life and violate their faith—and these pressures could force 91 percent of religious doctors out of the medical field.

In Nov. 2019, a New York district court ruled against the Conscience Rule. Yesterday, Dr. Frost and CMDA appealed this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. The deadline for the Trump administration to appeal the district court’s decision is Jan. 6, 2020.

“Like an ideological Grinch stealing conscience rights, Planned Parenthood is robbing not only religious doctors and nurses but also the patients that they serve,” said Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel at Becket. “To hear Planned Parenthood tell it, one pro-life OB-GYN is one too many. That’s wrong and it’s bad for healthcare. In a big, diverse country like ours, we can ensure that everyone will receive the care they need while still respecting the consciences of religious doctors and nurses.”

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Ryan Colby at media@becketlaw.org or 202-349-7219. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish.

Forcing a Hospice to Euthanize in Canada

National Review

Wesley J. Smith

Euthanasia is more than just legal in Canada. It has become a government-guaranteed right.

But how to guarantee that the legally qualified who want to die are made dead? Unless the government establishes killing centers out of Soylent Green, it will have to coerce doctors to do the killing or procure the euthanasia doctor -called “effective referral” — as has been done in Ontario. And, it will have to force medical facilities into allowing euthanasia on premises, whether their administators like it or not.

Such an imposition is now taking place in British Columbia, where the Delta Hospice board of directors are standing tall for the hospice philosophy of caring — but never killing — by refusing to permit euthanasia in the facililty. In response, the BC Health Minister is threatening to restrict funding in the single-payer system, which, ironically, would undercut the facilities ability to care optimally for their patients who don’t want to be killed. From the Globe and Mail story:

A B.C. hospice society that refuses to provide medical assistance in dying at its facility in violation of local rules has been given until Thursday to submit plans for compliance.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the Delta Hospice Society, which operates the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner, may face penalties if it fails to do so.

“We’ve asked them … to provide their plan to fulfill their contract with the Fraser Health Authority and it is our expectation that they will,” Mr. Dix said on Wednesday. “Should they not want to fulfill their contract with Fraser Health, there may well be consequences of that.”

It it my understanding that there is a Fraser hospital directly across the street from the hospice where patients are euthanized. It would be easy to move hospice patients who want to have that done to the hospital where they could be put down according to their desire. But even if that weren’t true, so long as the hospice advises patients that euthanasia is not permitted on site, why force the issue? Why threaten to bring financial ruin upon a small, heterodox-managed institution?

Because of the message that Delta sends that euthanasia is morally wrong and an improper way to treat terminally ill patients. That is what burns. Hence, the authoritarian response of the government.

This is both a civil rights issue and a matter of basic compassion. Think about the patient in the next bed who values life and knows that his neighbor is being killed by a doctor. That would be both terrifying and morale destroying because of the cruel message communicated that his life — like that of the neighbor — is no longer deemed worth protecting.

The ongoing assault on medical conscience in Canada demonstrates how the culture of death brooks no dissent. The same thing will happen here if we let the wolf in the door. Those with eyes to see, let them see.

Dutch cardinal: Priests should ‘speak clearly’ on assisted suicide

Catholic News Agency

Andrea Gagliarducci

Vatican City, Dec 16, 2019 / 05:06 pm (CNA).- A priest must say clearly to a person opting for assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia that he is committing a grave sin, a Dutch cardinal told CNA this week.

For the same reason, a priest cannot be present when voluntary euthanasia or assisted suicide is performed. This might imply that the priest has no problems with the decision or even that “these morally illicit acts are not such in some circumstances according to the teaching of the Church,” Cardinal Willelm Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht and an expert on euthanasia issues, told CNA. . . [Full text]