Irish Committee Reported Split on Abortion in Ireland

The Irish All-Party Committee on the Constitution has reportedly failed to reach a consensus on the legality of abortion in Ireland. It is believed that three different approaches will be proposed by the different political parties. There is no word on whether or not any of them will take note of issues of conscience. The Project made a submission to the Committee in June after testimony before the Committee indicated that many obstetricians would refuse to involve themselves in abortion for moral or religious reasons.

 

Pharmacists press for freedom of conscience in British Columbia

A resolution that would allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing morally controversial products such as the Morning After Pill gained substantial support from pharmacists at the Annual General Meeting of the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia in Vancouver on October 12th. A news release from Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience noted that the loss of the show of hands vote was seen not as a defeat, but as a sign that more work is necessary.

 

B.C. Pharmacist representing “conscientious objectors” at AGM wins substantial support from colleagues

News Release

Concerned Pharmacists for  Conscience in BC

A resolution that would allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing morally controversial products such as the Morning After Pill gained substantial support from pharmacists at the AGM of B.C. Pharmacists on October 12th.

A number of pharmacists took to the microphone to voice their strong support; only one pharmacist spoke in opposition. Although the preliminary show-of -hands vote was not won, supporters of the resolution do not see this as a defeat, but simply as a sign that more work needs to be done.

At best, the current Code of Ethics for pharmacists acknowledges that some members may run into moral dilemmas, but does not provide accommodation for conscientious objectors.

“It is ironic that the B.C. Health Minister wants to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies while our Premier wants pharmacists to give out the morning after pill like candy. Scientifically, this is an abortion causing drug developed primarily to act against implantation of a live human embryo in vivo. It is a product that professional pharmacists may refuse to dispense for medical, ethical reasons, or on moral or religious grounds, not to mention liability concerns and the possibility of having angry parents of teenagers coming after us. We still do not know long -term effects of repeated use of the morning after pill, but we do know that these high doses of hormones have been strongly linked to breast cancer. We will be using our young women as guinea pigs,” says Cristina Alarcon, British Columbia representative for a group called Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience.

” Regardless of where you stand on the moral issues surrounding abortifacient use, pharmacists who do not wish to participate must be respected and should not be FORCED to refer”, says Alarcon.

Miss Alarcon made the opening remarks at the AGM in support of the resolution that would recognize a pharmacist’s right to refuse a prescription on moral grounds.

” Conscientious objectors simply want to exercise the right to not participate in morally objectionable treatments and the right to freedom of conscience in matters that pertain to morals and religion in accordance with Canadian Human Rights jurisprudence. We do not claim to have a monopoly on the profession, and we are not blocking access nor infringing on a patient’s ” right to choose”. Furthermore, with the dawn of ever more controversial “treatments”, such as euthanasia,

RU-486, genetic manipulation , and execution (as referred to in our Mar/Apr College bulletin), health care workers are in greater need of Conscience Clause Legislation in this country. This is what I am fighting for,” she continues; “If we are to act in the public’s best interests, we must act freely and responsibly, and not as coerced automatons as our College currently mandates, nor as dispensing machines.

For further information, please call Miss Cristina Alarcon, at 604-222-8317 or at 604-974-0993 ext. 1232

Doctor’s abortion view ‘cost him job’

The North Glasgow Universities Trust has said it will look into the interview process involving Dr. Everett Julyan, 26, a Christian, states that he was denied employment with North Glasgow Universities Trust because he would not participate in abortion training. The matter is under investigation by the Trust. See Access to Appointments.

 

The scope and limits of conscientious objection

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2000 Oct;71(1):71-7. Review. PubMed PMID: 11044548.

Bernard M. Dickens, Rebecca J. Cook

Abstract:

Principles of religious freedom protect physicians, nurses and others who refuse participation in medical procedures to which they hold conscientious objections.
However, they cannot decline participation in procedures to save life or continuing health. Physicians who refuse to perform procedures on religious grounds must refer their patients to non-objecting practitioners. When physicians refuse to accept applicants as patients for procedures to which they object, governmental healthcare
administrators must ensure that non-objecting providers are reasonably accessible. Nurses’ conscientious objections to participate directly in procedures they find religiously offensive should be accommodated, but nurses cannot object to giving patients indirect aid. Medical and nursing students cannot object to be educated about procedures in which they would not participate, but may object to having to perform
them under supervision. Hospitals cannot usually claim an institutional conscientious objection, nor discriminate against potential staff applicants who would not object to participation in particular procedures. [Full Text]

Letter to the editor, Pharmacy Practice

Rosalyn Wosnick invites her readers to equate conscientious objection among pharmacists to the bigotry of a ‘deep south’ restauranteur, who argued that he had a right to deny service to blacks. (Editorial, Pharmacy Practice, July 2000) The analogy is misplaced, misrepresents the position of conscientious objectors, and is likely to engender prejudicial attitudes among their colleagues.

It would have been more accurate to compare pharmacists who have moral objections to dispensing a drug with a coffee shop owner who refuses to sell Brand X coffee to anyone, because it has been produced by child labour. The object, in both cases, is to avoid complicity in what the parties judge to be evil, regardless of the legalities involved.

However, Ms. Wosnick suggests that if a product is legal, and she wants it, other people should be made to give it to her, even if doing so would be contrary to their moral convictions. The product she is concerned about is Preven. Let’s consider a different product.

Ammunition, like Preven, is a legal product. Moreover, one has a legal right to defend one’s own home, even to the point of using deadly force, if need be. Suppose that a householder wants ammunition for defence against burglars, but a gun store clerk with moral objections to this type of crime prevention refuses to sell him ammunition. Applying Ms. Wosnick’s reasoning, the customer complains that the clerk is denying him his “right” to obtain a legal product. He demands that the clerk sell him the ammunition, or refer him to a more willing colleague, threatening to have him fired if he does not do so.

To say shotgun slugs are “legal”, however, means only that the customer is free to obtain and use them for legal purposes. It implies nothing about how gun store clerks should exercise their own freedom, even if licensed gun stores have a monopoly on the sale of ammunition as part of the state gun control system. Freedom to buy shotgun slugs – or drugs – does not mean that one is legally obliged to sell them, or to help others buy them.

If Ms. Wosnick asserts, instead, that there is a moral obligation to dispense a drug, and that this moral obligation is absolutely binding, she must identify the source of this morality. Moreover, since she would not dare to suppress the moral or ethical beliefs of others unless she was convinced that they were inferior to her own, she must explain why her moral views are superior to those that she seeks to suppress. Finally, in view of human rights jurisprudence that generally requires accommodation of belief rather than its suppression, she must explain why accommodation of those who disagree with her is impossible or undesirable.

Sean Murphy, Administrator
Protection of Conscience Project

Senator Perrault’s Bill Stalled

Senator Ray Perrault and Senator Anne Cools spoke to Senator Perrault’s protection of conscience Bill S-11 at second reading in the Canadian Senate. The chair of the Senate’s legal and constitutional affairs committee would not support its introduction into the committee for hearing. Further efforts to introduce the bill into committee failed The Senate has now adjourned for the summer, and there can be no further progess until the fall.

 

Catholic Charities files lawsuit against the State of California

A law passed in 1999 included a requirement that would force Catholic hospitals to provide employee insurance coverage for artificial contraception. This has resulted in a lawsuit against the state. An application for a preliminary injunction is to be heard in a Sacramento Court in late August.

 

Irish Committee may recommend abortion in Ireland

It has been reported that Brian Lenihan, chairman of the Oireachtas committee which has been considering the issue of abortion in the Irish Republic, believes a consensus exists to advise rejection of an outright constitutional ban. He believes the committee’s recommendation will be to allow abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. In view of this possibility, the Project submission to the Committee was timely.

 

Pharmacy Practice cites Ward, criticizes freedom of conscience in pharmacy

While Pharmacy Practice has not yet published the Project’s response, (e-mailed 13 July) an editorial against freedom of conscience in pharmacy appears in the July issue. It not only quotes Marianne Meed Ward’s accusation of selfishness with approval, but compares conscientious objectors in pharmacy to a ‘Deep South’ (USA) bigot who refused to serve blacks in his restaurant.