Concerned Pharmacists cite lack of consultation in Alberta

News Release

Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience

In a controversial policy change, announced this week the College of Pharmacists of B.C. decided to allow pharmacists to hand out the morning after pill, Preven, over the counter without a doctor’s prescription.  In response, Greg Eberhart, registrar of the     Alberta Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) has stated that “The APhA hopes to follow  B.C.’s push…”

“There has been no dialogue between the membership of the APhA and its executive, as to how pharmacists stand on this position,” says Ms. Maria Bizecki, spokesperson for  the group Concerned Phamacists for Conscience (CPC).  Ms. Bizecki further states the  APhA executive finds itself under increased pressure from the Society of Obstetricians and  Gynecologists of  Canada (SOGC), to dispense this product over the counter.

In 1995, the issue of a “conscience clause” came before the  APhA  membership and was passed, but, after consideration, dismissed by the APhA’s self-appointed Regulatory Affairs Committee.   “Forcing pharmacists to dispense or refer patients requesting Preven, an abortion causing drug developed to primarily act during Implantation of an embryo, is an insult to the autonomy of the pharmacist, the profession of pharmacy, and a health risk to women” adds  Ms.Bizecki.

Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience (CPC) is opposed to pharmacists dispensing     medications that violate their conscience on moral, medical ethical, or religious grounds.

For further information: Ms. Maria Bizecki, spokesperson Tel: (403) 228-2190  Fax:(403) 228-2249


New advisors join Project

News Release

Protection of Conscience Project

Two new advisors joined the Project in March.

J. Budziszewski, Ph.d, is Associate Professor, Departments of Government and Political Philosophy, University of Texas (Austin), U.S.A.. He is a specialist in ethical and political philosophy, is the author of five academic books, most recently “The     Revenge of Conscience: Politics and the Fall of Man” (1999) and “Written on the     Heart: The Case for Natural Law”(1997). He has contributed numerous articles and     reviews to both scholarly and popular periodicals, including “First Things”, the     “American Journal of Jurisprudence”, the “Journal of Politics”, the “American Political Science Review”, the “Weekly Standard”,  the”National Review”, and Public Choice”.

David Novak, A.B., M.H.L., Ph.d., is the Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish     Studies, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is Professor of the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto, and also Professor of Philosophy, with appointments in University College, the Faculty of Law, the Joint Centre for Bioethics, and the Institute of Medical Science. He is also Director of the Jewish Studies Programme. From 1989 to 1997 he was the Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies at the University of Virginia. He had taught previously at Oklahoma city University, Old Dominion University, the New School for Social Research, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and Baruch  College of the City University of New York. From 1966 to1969 he was Jewish Chaplain to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, National Institute of Mental Health, in Washington, D.C.


New advisor joins Project

News Release

Protection of Conscience Project

Janet Ajzenstat, Professor of Political Science at McMaster University in Hamilton     Ontario, has joined the advisory board of the Protection of Conscience Project.
Professor Ajzenstat teaches public law and political philosophy.  Her most recent     books are Canada’s Founding Debates (edited with Paul Romney, Ian Gentles and     William D. Gairdner [Stoddart, 1999], and Canada’s Origins (edited with Peter J.     Smith [Carleton University Press, 1995]).  She is associated with the Centre for     Renewal in Public Policy and the Dominion Institute.  In 1988-89 she was Executive     Director of the Human Life Research Institute (now the Barrie de Weber Institute). Her  most recent contribution to reports for the Institute is Going it Alone (co-authored with Elizabeth Cassidy, Elise Carter and Gerald Bierling), a study of pregnant, unmarried women who have chosen to continue their pregnancies.

The Protection of Conscience Project is a non-denominational, non-profit group of     individuals consisting of a project team and advisory board.  The Project

  •  advocates for protection of conscience legislation;
  • provides information on protection of conscience legislation worldwide;
  • promotes clarification and understanding of the issues involved to assist in reasoned public discussion;
  • acts as a clearing house for reports from people who have been discriminated against for reasons of conscience.

Protection of Conscience Project launched

News Release

Protection of Conscience Project

When the Markham-Stoufville Hospital in Ontario tried to force health care workers to assist in abortion, eight nurses stood their ground. One of them died during the five years it took for the case to reach a human rights tribunal.  The hospital settled the case on the eve of the hearing, agreeing to financial compensation and a policy statement protecting rights of conscience.

For vindication of freedom of conscience, five years is too long too wait, thousands of dollars in legal fees too much to pay.  It is past time to put an end to coercive conduct by employers, educational authorities and others who demand freedom of choice except for those who don’t share their moral outlook.

The Protection of Conscience Project supports authentic freedom of conscientious choice for everyone.  It is a non-denominational, non-profit group of individuals consisting of a project team and advisory board, operating a website at

The Project

  • advocates for protection of conscience legislation;
  • provides information on protection of conscience legislation worldwide;
  • promotes clarification and understanding of the issues involved to assist in reasoned public discussion;
  • acts as a clearing house for reports from people who have been discriminated against for reasons of conscience.

The Markham-Stoufville case concerned abortion.  What about euthanasia, physician assisted suicide, and demands for access to reproductive technologies?

“Without proper legislation,” warned Maurice Vellacott, M.P., speaking to the issue in the House of Commons, ” there may come a day where no physician feels free from coercion to violate his or her conscience.”

Conscience Legislation for health care workers to be debated in House of Commons

News Release

Ottawa — Bill C-207, which would protect health care providers, particularly nurses, from being forced to participate, against their wills, in abortion procedures or acts of euthanasia, will be debated in the House of Commons this week. Debate is currently scheduled for Thursday November 18 at 5:30pm.

The bill summary for C-207 (formerly designated C-461 during the last session of parliament) reads as follows: “This enactment protects the rights of health care practitioners and other persons to refuse, without fear of reprisal or other discriminatory coercion, to participate in medical procedures that offend a tenet of their religion, or their belief that human life is inviolable.”

In recent years there have been many nurses either refused employment or dismissed because     of their unwillingness to capitulate in the face of pressure to assist in abortions. Bill C-207 would remedy that situation. Unfortunately, after the bill is debated it will not be voted on, so that it has no chance of becoming law. This is because the Liberal-dominated sub-committee on Private Members Business chose not to make the bill votable.

The bill has now also been introduced in the Senate as Bill S-11 by Senator Raymond Perrault.

Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons challenged to think about conscience rights

News Releases

Canadian Physicians for Life

Canadian Physicians for Life calls on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta to verify the alleged charges of women being bullied by pro-life physicians.

The tone of the statement from College Councillor Dr. Eugene Kretzul is patronizing and dismissive of the conscience rights of doctors. The “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” suggestion that morally troublesome issues need only be referred to a colleague is oblivious to the principled objections of pro-life physicians.  Increasingly exotic reproductive technologies may eventually offend even the most laissez-faire physicians. There may come a day where no physician feels free from coercion to violate his or her conscience.

The “pro-choice” Alberta College apparently lacks tolerance for physicians’ choice to be pro-life. The Code of Ethics of the Canadian Medical Association requires physicians to “inform a patient when their personal morality would influence the recommendation or practice of any medical procedure that the patient needs or wants.” The Alberta College suggests pro-life doctors go further: usher abortion requesters into the abortion-on-demand system or face the charge of being unprofessional.

In Alberta, as elsewhere, it is often easier for women to obtain an abortion than support and counseling services. For a woman to make a truly “informed decision” she must be presented with the embryology of her   unborn child so that she will know that she is aborting a human being, not just a clump of cells or a piece of her own tissues. She deserves more than the wave-through suggested by the College’s statement.

A number of studies report a close correlation between abortion, especially of a first pregnancy, and breast cancer. Are Alberta physicians telling abortion seekers of this threat to their health? Are women being informed of the risk of post-abortion emotional trauma? Are patients being warned that some physicians’ ardent pro-abortion beliefs bias the “counselling” process?

And if abortion seekers have complained of being bullied, has the College conducted diligent enquiries into such serious accusations? What was the outcome? Or is polemical hearsay the College’s new standard of evidence when the target is pro-life doctors?

In plain English, independent medical professionals have no duty to refer anyone to anyone when the referral would violate the conscience and the medical good judgement of the professional. This elementary conscience  protection impartially shields doctors who possess any convictions on any topic at all. Whether the request be for genital mutilation, the amputation of a healthy limb, or an abortion, the true professional will never be coerced into offending his or her basic principles. Canadian Physicians for Life calls on the Alberta College to retract and clarify its venture into professional conscience ethics.

Will Johnston, M.D.


For further information
Canadian Physicians for Life Administration
Phone (604) 794-3772; Fax (604) 794-3960