Project Letter to the Editor,
Fredericton Daily Gleaner
Re: “Abortions won’t be available in all hospitals. “The Fredericton Daily Gleaner, 28 November, 2014
New Brunswick’s Minister of Health and the President of the province’s Medical Society both claim that physicians who refuse to provide abortion for reasons of conscience have an obligation to refer patients to colleagues who will. These assertions contradict the positions of the Canadian Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick. Mr. Boudreau and Dr. Haddad also fail to recognize how such a policy would play out should assisted suicide and euthanasia be legalized. The Protection of Conscience Project intervened at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case on precisely this point.1
Some influential academics have been attempting to force physicians to refer for abortion for years. They now claim that “because” physicians can be forced to refer for abortion, they should be forced to refer for euthanasia.2 If they have succeeded in converting Mr. Boudreau and Dr. Haddad to their point of view, it is not shared by physicians who refuse to be parties to killing, before or after birth.
The Canadian Medical Association expects physicians who decline to provide abortions for reasons of conscience to notify a patient seeking abortion “so that she may consult another physician.” There is no requirement for referral.3 The College of Physicians of New Brunswick suggests referral as a “preferred practice,” but acknowledges that referral may not be acceptable. Physicians may, instead, provide information about resources available to patients that they can use to obtain the service they want.4
1. Murphy, S. “Project Backgrounder Re: Joint intervention in Carter v. Canada.” Supreme Court of Canada, 15 October, 2014
2. Schuklenk U, van Delden J.J.M, Downie J, McLean S, Upshur R, Weinstock D. Report of the Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on End-of-Life Decision Making (November, 2011) p. 70 (Accessed 2014-12-02)
3. Murphy S. “‘NO MORE CHRISTIAN DOCTORS.’ Appendix ‘F’- The Difficult Compromise: Canadian Medical Association, Abortion and Freedom of Conscience.” Protection of Conscience Project
4. Comment by College of Physicians and Surgeons of New Brunswick (November, 2002) Re: Declining to provide service on moral/religious grounds.