Constitutional lawyers debate conscience rights

BC Catholic

Deborah Gyapong

Legal experts squared off in a debate on physicians’ conscience rights March 16 in a debate hosted by the University of Ottawa’s law school.

Albertos Polizogopoulos, representing five Ontario doctors challenging Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeon policies requiring effective referral on procedures such as abortion and euthanasia, argued for conscience rights. He argued Section 2(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides such protection. . .


Queen’s University Senior Contracts Negotiator Ricardo Smalling argued physicians’ conscience rights must be balanced with the rights of patients who are seeking care in their “weakest” moments.

Highlighting the “subjective nature of conscience,” Smalling said eliminating conscientious objection “is the only way to ensure there is a predictable framework that guarantees a patient’s health care.” . . . [Full text]