As Alberta debates a private member’s bill to protect conscience rights for doctors and other health care providers, Ontario’s government is saying little about a lack of protection for doctors forced to provide referrals for assisted suicide, abortion and other procedures. . . [Full text]
Thomas Cardinal Collins, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, in addressing the 40th annual Cardinal’s Dinner in the city, warned that “all people of faith, living in what is more and more an aggressively secular society, must manifest the courage of their convictions.”
After considering the global persecution of Christians, he raised the subject of freedom of conscience and religion in Canada, within the context of the legalization of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide.
It is deeply troubling that the culture of life seems to be eroding more and more in our country. Canada remains one of the few countries in the world with no law on abortion. The introduction of euthanasia was a sad day for Canada, and all indications are that the government intends to loosen safeguards currently in place. Increased palliative care seems to have taken a backseat to death on demand. I find this to be appalling.
In such a grim situation, it is critical that we at least respect the conscience rights of those health care professionals who do not wish to participate in killing their patients. As there is limited conscience protection at the federal level, most provinces in Canada have legislative protection in place for their health care workers. I hope that our provincial legislature can work to address this issue in the days ahead by enacting legislation that protects the conscience rights of all health care workers.
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]
Doctors are being bullied, silenced and coerced in a pro-euthanasia environment which is forcing those who object to medically assisted suicide to provide an effective referral for patients who wish to die, provincial legislators were told during hearings into Bill 84.
Oncologist Dr. Ellen Warner told an all-party committee that physicians . . . are “being bullied” and are experiencing a “horrendous stress level.” She described colleagues who object to assisted suicide speaking in code and using alternative email addresses to discuss doctor-assisted death. . . Hamilton Dr. Jane Dobson held back tears as she described the pressure she’s faced since the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario ruled that doctors who have a moral, ethical or religious objection to assisted dying must nevertheless provide an “effective referral” for the procedure. . . [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.
TORONTO, March 24, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Doctors who refuse to kill a patient “need protection so that they can act according to their conscience,” Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, told the Ontario legislature on Thursday.
“It is sad that I and others need to come before you today to urge you to protect these devoted healers from the punishment which they face if they refuse either to administer a lethal injection to their patients or, in effective referral, to arrange for that injection to be administered,” he told Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance & Economic Affairs. . . . [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]
TORONTO — Reuters. The head of Canada’s biggest Catholic group opposed the country’s pending doctor-assisted suicide legislation in a statement to be read at 225 Toronto churches on Sunday, saying it was “unjust” to force doctors to act against their conscience.
“It is unjust to force people to act against their conscience in order to be allowed to practice as a physician,” Cardinal Thomas Collins, head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, said in the text of his statement.
Canada’s Supreme Court struck down a ban on assisted suicide in 2015 and gave lawmakers a year to come up with legislation to regulate the practice.
The newly elected Liberal government was given a four-month extension this year to a develop a national law for the practice, under which doctors opposed to assisted suicide have to recommend someone willing to perform it. . . [Full text]
Canada’s largest Catholic archdiocese is mobilizing its members to pressure federal politicians tasked with shaping new doctor-assisted dying legislation by June to protect vulnerable groups and to exempt doctors, nurses and Catholic hospitals from having to provide those services because it goes against their religious beliefs.
Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Archbishop of Toronto, used a sermon on Sunday at St. Paul’s Basilica in downtown Toronto to argue that forcing Catholic doctors to refer patients to medically assisted dying services was a “violation of conscience” and amounted to religious discrimination. . . [Full text]