OTTAWA, Nov 10 ( – Senator Raymond Perrault introduced a bill last week which would protect the conscience of health care workers. The Senator’s Bill S-11 was originally introduced by Senator Stanley Haidasz. The bill would amend the Criminal Code to prohibit coercion in medical procedures that offend a person’s religion or belief that human life is inviolable from conception to natural death. The bill has been placed on the Order Paper for second reading on November 16. 

The bill came in response to petitions from over 8,000 Canadians (mostly nurses and others connected to health care) to provide protection for health-care workers who refuse to assist in practices which go against their consciences. 

Canada remains one of the few countries without such legislation. Health-care workers across Canada have experienced pressure to act against their consciences. Nurses have been coerced to assist with abortions; doctors are forced to refer patients for objectionable procedures; public-health workers are expected to disseminate controversial sex-education material; and pharmacists are pressured to provide abortion-causing drugs. Many have lost their jobs for refusing to co-operate in such practices, others have been demoted, and refused employment or professional certification; still others have quit to avoid anticipated abuse. 

In April a deal cut between the Markham-Stoufville Hospital and eight pro-life nurses who were forced out of their jobs for refusing to participate in abortion was approved by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Nurses at the hospital are now allowed to refuse to participate if it is against their religious beliefs. 

With files from the Parliament of Canada.

See a related LifeSite story: 

Nurses Right to Refuse Abortion Participation Reneged?