Covenant Health exclusion on assisted death condemned

Transferring patients would be ‘unfortunate,’ says Dying with Dignity Edmonton co-chair Bradley Peter

CBC News

Advocates for physician-assisted death are condemning a decision which will allow Covenant Health to opt out provincial regulations on the practice.

The Supreme Court of Canada ordered the federal government to have a law in place allowing physician-assisted death by June 6. But the bill addressing that order still faces a battle in the Senate, so it appears unlikely the deadline will be met. Meanwhile, provincial governments are still grappling with how to address regulations for the new law.

The Alberta government has said Convenant Health  –  a Catholic-run and publicly funded health organization  –  will be allowed to opt out for conscience reasons. Patients at hospitals and continuing-care facilities run by Covenant Health will be transferred to other health facilities if they seek a physician-assisted death.  . .[Full Text]

Religious care homes refusing patients the right to die

CTV News

Kendra Mangione

The right to die isn’t guaranteed in Canada yet, but the issue is already causing arguments in B.C.

The federal government’s controversial bill on assisted dying was passed in the House of Commons on Tuesday, and will now face the criticism of the Canadian Senate.

Bill C-14 outlines eligibility for assisted dying, limiting the option to consenting adults suffering from serious and incurable diseases and disabilities.

The bill followed a Supreme Court ruling last year that adults should have the right to seek medical help to end their lives if their suffering is intolerable. Under the Supreme Court ruling, a federal ban on assisted dying will be formally lifted on June 6.

Less than a week before the ban is lifted, the right to die is already causing conflicts in B.C.

The owners of some religion-based care homes have already decided they will not permit residents to decide when to end their lives, if it goes against their religion. . . [Full Text]

Patients to be moved out of Covenant Health facilities for assisted deaths

Publicly funded, Catholic health care organization, opposes physician-assisted dying

CBC News

Michelle Bellefontaine

Patients at hospitals and continuing-care facilities run by Covenant Health will be transferred to other Alberta health-care facilities if they seek a physician-assisted death, the province says.

Covenant Health is a Catholic organization that runs publicly funded hospitals in Edmonton and continuing-care facilities across the province. In February, Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said Covenant Health would not allow patients to end their lives with the help of a doctor in its facilities.

Associate health minister Brandy Payne confirmed Monday that physicians and other health-care workers will not be forced to take part in this procedure if it goes against their beliefs. She said procedures are being set up to move patients, if necessary. . . . [Full Text]

Canada: medical regulators’ policies re: freedom of conscience

Annotated Extracts and Links

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba

College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Prince Edward Island

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatachewan

Collège des Médecins du Québec

Yukon Medical Council

Project asks Canadian MPs, Senators to stop coercion in homicide, suicide

News Release

For Immediate Release

Protection of Conscience Project

“If it is ‘unacceptable’ for Members of Parliament to use physical force against each other, surely it is “unacceptable” for state institutions or others to use the force of law to compel people to be parties to inflicting death upon others, and to punish those who refuse.”

That is the message over 400 Canadian Members of Parliament and Senators returning to Ottawa will find on their desks in a letter from the Protection of Conscience Project.  The letters began to arrive Friday morning and should be waiting for MPs and Senators returning to Parliament to resume sitting on Monday.

The Project is proposing an amendment to the government’s Bill C-14, which is intended to allow medical and nurse practitioners to provide euthanasia and assisted suicide in accordance with the ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General).

“Writing directly to individual legislators is a very unusual step,” said Sean Murphy, Administrator of the Protection of Conscience Project.  The letter was sent because of the gravity of the issue, and because the Project’s submission on Bill C-14 – like many others – was not distributed to members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights before it concluded its deliberations on the bill.

“Ironically, perhaps,” states the letter, “what the Protection of Conscience proposes is not a protection of conscience amendment.”

“Instead, the amendment is limited to the criminal law, which is strictly and fully within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada.”

In making the argument that the criminal law should prohibit coerced participation in homicide and suicide, the letter refers to the conduct of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the House of Commons on 18 May, which caused an uproar in the House and delayed debate on Bill C-14.

“The delay caused by the Prime Minister has made it possible to make this one last effort to reach legislators,” said Murphy, “and his conduct has enabled the Project to make its point in a very practical way.”


Sean Murphy, Administrator

Indonesia Approves Castration for Sex Offenders Who Prey on Children

New York Times

Joe Cochrane

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, signed a decree on Wednesday authorizing chemical castration for convicted child sex offenders and requiring those released on parole to wear electronic monitoring devices.

The new punishment comes in response to the brutal gang rape and murder in April of a 14-year-old girl on her way home on the island of Sumatra. Seven teenage boys were each sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime, which prompted national outrage and revived previous calls for chemical castration as a punishment against child sex offenders. . . [Full Text]

Polish hospital stops doing abortions after every OB/GYN signs conscience clause

LifeSite News

Natalia Dueholm

RZESZOW, Poland, May 24, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – An infamous private hospital in Poland has reportedly ceased committing abortions after every doctor at the hospital signed a clause opting out based on conscience.

The abortions at the Specialist Hospital Pro-Familia in Rzeszów were first exposed by midwife Agata Rejman in January 2014 at an emotional press conference where she discussed her traumatic experiences at the hospital. . .  [Full text]


Christian elderly care provider in Canada refuses to provide ‘medical aid in dying’

The Christian Times

CB Condez

Baptist Housing, a Christian senior care provider in Brtiish Columbia, Canada, will not provide physician-assisted death in its facilities, which has disappointed some people who are for allowing terminally ill patients to have the option to end their lives.

“We feel that as a faith organization we would want to exercise our conscience in terms of that,” said CEO Howard Johnson, as quoted by CBC News. “We do believe that there is sanctity in life.”

Grace Pastine, litigation director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Union, said that the housing’s stance is unconstitutional since assisted suicide is legal in Canada and it is “a constitutional right for critically ill Canadians.” . . . [Full Text]

Will Hospitals, Physicians Opt Out of Assisted Suicide?

Physicians News Network

Huntington Hospital leaders voted behind closed doors recently for the facility’s hundreds of doctors and affiliated personnel to opt out of California’s assisted-suicide law, which goes into effect June 9.

If the proposed amendment to the hospital’s medical rules is approved by the board of directors on May 26, Huntington will become one of the largest non-religious medical institutions to reject the new California law.

It’s unclear at this point if Huntington will be an exception or representative of a wave of opt-outs to be revealed by month’s end. . . [Full Text]

Lettre aux Députés et Sénateurs, Parlement du Canada

Re: Loi C-14 (aide médicale à mourir)

[Adressées individuellement]

Au nom de notre organisation, le Projet pour la Protection de la Conscience, je vous écris au sujet du projet de loi C-14. Notre organisation était un intervenant dans l’affaire Carter à la Cour suprême du Canada. On ne prend pas de position sur l’acceptabilité de l’euthanasie ou le suicide assisté.

Notre organisation a présenté un mémoire au Comité permanent de la justice et des droits avant la date limite, mais (parmi plusieurs d’autres) il n’a pas été distribué aux membres du Comité avant qu’ils ont conclu leurs délibérations. Compte tenu de cela, le temps alloué et de la gravité du sujet, il a été décidé d’écrire directement aux députés et aux sénateurs.

Ci-joint l’amendement au projet de loi C-14 proposé par notre organisation. Ironiquement, nous ne proposons pas un amendement pour la protection de conscience . . .

La modification proposée établirait que, en matière de droit et de la politique publique nationale, personne ne peut être obliger de devenir partie à l’homicide ou de suicide, ou puni ou défavorisé pour avoir refusé de le faire. . .