TORONTO, March 6, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Ontario doctors could be compelled to perform abortions and euthanasia after the professional regulator’s ruling council approved its controversial new policy Friday morning in a 21-3 vote.
The College announced today in a news release that its new Professional Obligations and Human Rights policy “requires physicians to provide their patients with an effective referral to another health-care provider for those services the physician chooses not to provide for reasons of conscience or religion.”
But it does more, and requires doctors not only to refer but to provide service if required to alleviate “suffering.”
Commented one of the policy’s severest critics, Sean Murphy of the Protection of Conscience Project: “The Ontario College of Physicians has decided they are prepared to compel physicians to do what they consider is wrong, even homicide or suicide and punish them if they refuse. If institutions can order citizens to do what they believe is evil, what can they not do?”
The draft policy pays lip service to the rights of physicians, but in the saw-off between doctors and patients, the College’s press release makes it clear in its headline whose side it is with, “New policy safeguards human rights and puts patients first.”
Two clauses in particular concern doctors who believe abortion and assisted suicide are wrong. The first reads, “Physicians must provide care in an emergency, where it is necessary situation to prevent imminent harm, even where that care conflicts with their conscience or religious beliefs.” This appears to compel doctors to provide service immediately when not to do so would cause “imminent harm,” a vague enough term to include mental anguish over not receiving a timely abortion, or physical pain while waiting for a sympathetic doctor to assist a patient to commit suicide.
The second clause states, “Where physicians are unwilling to provide certain elements of care for reasons of conscience or belief an effective referral to another health care provider must be provided to the patient. An effective referral means a referral made in good faith, to a non-objecting, available, and accessible physician, other health-care provider, or agency.” Many doctors believe that referring patients to others is a form of collaborating with an immoral act.
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Murphy said there would now be pressure on the other professional colleges to follow suit. The Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons’ non-elected officials met with Ontario officials last year and agreed on virtually identical changes to their codes. Saskatchewan’s college will vote later this month.
Murphy also predicted that “some poor doctor” in Ontario who went public with his opposition to the policy will soon be visited by a patient-provocateur seeking a referral for an abortion in order to start a test case.
John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom has previously told LifeSiteNews that the conscience and religious rights of doctors are protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms from discrimination by state bodies, which includes the College.
But the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons cites the landmark Morgentaler case, which struck down Canada’s abortion law because it denied equal medical access across Canada to women seeking the procedure.
Carpay told LifeSiteNews: “They have twisted the meaning of Morgentaler. Nothing in that decision requires a doctor to perform an abortion. It doesn`t even recognize a right to abortion.”