(Euthanasia Prevention Coalition) — Recently, the World Medical Association (WMA) upheld, after much debate, the position to respect a physician’s conscience by allowing them to refuse to participate in euthanasia.
Physicians from Canada and other jurisdictions had proposed that the WMA change its position on conscience rights, which would have effectively forced physicians to provide a referral for euthanasia to patients where the practice is legal, even if the physician felt the practice was a betrayal of their own moral and religious convictions.
In fact, Canada’s parliament recently defeated conscience rights Bill C-230 based on a party-line vote, with most of the MPs for the Conservative Party of Canada, including leader Pierre Poilievre, supporting the conscience rights of medical professionals, and nearly every Liberal, New Democratic Party (NDP) and Bloc Québécois MP voting against it.
The WMA victory underlines the importance of continuing the fight to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals. If conscience rights cannot be protected at the federal level, then we must renew our commitment at the provincial or state levels.
Conscience rights protect medical professionals from being forced to be complicit in acts that they consider wrong, but conscience rights are also important for patients.
All of us need to be assured, in our time of need, that our doctor will respect our opposition to being killed. We need physicians who respect our values.
If you are experiencing a difficult medical condition you may become very depressed and ask for something that you would never otherwise request. You need a physician who is free to protect you at the lowest time of your life.
Conscience rights protect medical professionals and conscience rights protect you.
Reprinted with permission from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.