TORONTO, April 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — A Liberal-dominated committee has refused to add conscience rights protection to Ontario’s bill regulating euthanasia and assisted suicide.
The finance and economic affairs committee voted down Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek’s proposed conscience rights amendments to Bill 84 on Tuesday.
The Liberal move leaves conscientiously objecting doctors with no protection against a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s policy forcing them to give patients requesting euthanasia an “effective referral” — that is, to a willing and accessible colleague for the purposes of accomplishing the act. . . [Full text]
The majority Liberal government at Queen’s Park has crushed an opposition attempt to incorporate conscience protections for doctors in its legislation on assisted suicide.
The government majority on the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs voted down two versions of a Progressive Conservative amendment to Bill-84 that would have removed the threat of license suspensions and other disciplinary actions against doctors who refuse to make an “effective referral” for medical assistance in dying (MAID).
New Democratic Party representatives on the committee abstained on the issue. . . [Full text]
With more than 22,000 emails and letters in their in-boxes, Ontario legislators have rarely been under as much pressure to amend a bill as they have been over conscience rights for doctors in Bill-84.
In response, Ontario Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins has promised to have a “care co-ordination service” up and running as early as May. . .
However, Hoskins and the Liberals have so far avoided saying they would override the policy of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario which requires doctors to refer for medically assisted death even against their moral, religious and ethical convictions. . . [Full text]
Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience wants ‘conscience protection’ in assisted death laws
A Scarborough palliative care physician says she would like Ontario to adopt a direct-access model for physician-assisted suicide, making it widely available to patients while bypassing doctors who object to the procedure.
Dr. Natalia Novosedlik is one of a group of doctors seeking what’s called “conscience protection” in the province’s assisted dying law, meaning physicians who oppose euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide would not have to refer patients to a doctor who does not have such objections, as is the case now. . . [Full text]
A coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders has sent an open letter to all 107 Ontario MPPs urging them to work together and “find a pathway that respects the rights of medical professionals, facilities and patients.”
The coalition urges MPPs to amend the Bill to include conscience protection for doctors and other health-care workers who oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, and to follow the Alberta model to create a “care coordination service” that provides patient access to assisted dying without requiring a direct doctor referral. . . .[Full text]
An open letter has been sent to the members of Ontario’s Provincial Parliament by His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, together with a number of other religious leaders, asking the Government of Ontario to enshrine into law the protection of conscience rights for health-care practitioners in Ontario who refuse to participate in the administering of euthanasia. The open letter was released on 27 March 2017 with respect to provincial Bill 84 (Medical Assistance in Dying Statute Law Amendment Act). The Coalition of HealthCARE and Conscience have also developed a resource which explains the current problem with Ontario’s proposed euthanasia legislation and the lack of conscience protection rights.
The Ontario Government’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs held a public hearing on this matter this past 23 March. Cardinal Collins, the Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, Bishop of London and President of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario, and Dr. Moira McQueen, Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, were present during the hearing and provided an oral presentation advocating for conscience rights. Several doctors and nurses were also present advocating for legislation to protect conscience rights.
The Archdiocese of Toronto released a video today of Cardinal Collins explaining the moral issues at hand in relation to conscience rights in Ontario and Bill 84.
The right being sought by many Ontario doctors to refuse to give patient referrals for euthanasia and assisted suicide will be addressed in committee meetings at Queen’s Park in the next month.
Progressive Conservative health critic Jeff Yurek plans to introduce a conscience-protection amendment to legislation currently being debated in the Ontario legislature.
Now in second reading, Bill 84 is designed to clear up legal ambiguities surrounding doctor-assisted suicide — everything from how coroners are to record assisted suicide deaths to the right of families to collect insurance benefits. However, the legislation currently does not include conscience protection for doctors. Instead, Ontario’s independent regulator for doctors requires all doctors to provide an “effective referral” for procedures, even if the doctor objects on moral, religious or conscience grounds. . . [Full text]
Following the shooting deaths of six men inside a Quebec City mosque, politicians quite rightly condemned the slaughter and affirmed Canada’s commitment to diversity, inclusiveness and tolerance.
But those words ring hollow in Ontario when applied to the dismissive way Catholic and other conscientiously objecting doctors are being treated on the issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia.
No hint of accommodation is found in demands to compel doctors to either act against their religious beliefs and values or face discipline that could include loss of their medical license. Yet, that is the situation in Ontario. . . [Full text]
As Catholic doctors and other conscientious objectors face discipline that could include losing their medical license, the Archdiocese of Toronto has launched an eight-week campaign to promote “robust conscience protection” for health care workers.
The initiative comes on the heels of the legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide and, in Ontario, a refusal to allow doctors to totally opt out of the process. No doctor is required to end the life of a patient, but those who object to doctor-assisted killing are required to provide an “effective referral,” even when such referrals go against their religious and moral beliefs. . . . [Full text]
Atlantic bishops’ assisted-suicide document may impact conscience rights say some observers
Critics of the Atlantic bishops’ new pastoral document on assisted dying say it could open the way in some cases to reception of the sacraments for those who decide to end their lives.
The Atlantic Episcopal Assembly (AEA) document stresses compassionate accompaniment for those contemplating euthanasia or assisted suicide, but it may ultimately weaken conscience rights for Catholic health-care workers and Catholic institutions, say some observers. . . .[Full text]