Doctors seek protection from policy requiring them to make referral
A number of local healthcare practitioners fear their right to choose whether or not they participate in providing assisted suicide to patients is being taken away from them.
Assisted suicide became legal in Canada in June 2016.
The Canadian law to allow medical assistance in dying (MAID) followed a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that struck down the law forbidding physician assisted dying, saying the old law violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The federal law, however, makes no indication that healthcare professionals would have to participate in MAID.
But, a College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario policy requires practitioners who conscientiously object to MAID to provide an effective referral to a non-objecting, available and accessible physician, nurse practitioner or agency. . . [Full text]
Markham-Stoufville, Ontario, Canada
If the province can spend millions of dollars setting up abortion clinics, Stephens said, it can well afford to hire nurses prepared to take part in abortions, rather than forcing others to go against their consciences. . . . And if hospitals pride themselves on being responsive to the community, this one should make plain how the recent decision was made and why the nurses are under such compulsion.
In a column in the May issue of Thornhill Month, John Stephens asked, “Must it be a matter of either job or conscience?” Until now, he wrote, the Birthplace Unit at the Markham-Stoufville Hospital has been used as the name implies. Now, nurses in the unit who abhor abortions are being told either to assist at these procedures or accept transfer to another department. “For nurses who have developed great skill at the birthing process,” Stephens pointed out, “this means giving up the job they love, and losing the opportunity to practise their expertise. In other circles, this would be called wrongful dismissal.” [Full text]