Rules for doctors, pharmacists tightened in new religious discrimination bill

Sydney Morning Herald

Judith Ireland

A pharmacist could refuse to dispense contraception and a doctor could refuse to provide fertility treatment under the government’s proposed new religious discrimination laws, provided they declined to provide that particular service to all patients.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the second draft of the religious discrimination bill, released on Tuesday, would allow doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and psychologists to conscientiously object as long as it was “to a procedure, not a person”. . . [Full text]

Controversial conscience rights bill for Alberta physicians voted down

‘This is a very political thing and a very cynical thing and it is not about physicians’

CBC News

Wallis Snowdon

A controversial private member’s bill that called for more protection for Alberta health workers who invoke conscience rights was rejected Thursday by an all-party committee of the legislature. 

The Conscience Rights Act for Healthcare Workers, or Bill 207  — introduced by Peace River MLA and UCP (United Conservative Party) backbencher Dan Williams — would have meant doctors could not be sued or sanctioned for refusing to provide a service that goes against their moral beliefs. 

Some doctors and patient advocates said the bill would limit access to medical services such as contraception, abortion and assisted dying. . .[Full text]

Rally against ‘conscience rights’ Bill 207 gathers hundreds at legislature

CTV News

Alex Antoneshyn

EDMONTON — Criticism swelled on Saturday of a new private member’s bill that would undo a requirement of doctors to refer treatment or service which goes against their beliefs, as protestors rallied at the Alberta Legislature to express their concern.

Sanda Azocar, executive director of Friends of Medicare, called Bill 207, The Conscience Rights Protection Act, an unnecessary piece of proposed legislation that would cause discrimination and harm. . . [Full text]

Calgary-area UCP MLAs say they won’t support conscience rights bill

Calgary Herald

 Zach Laing

A pair of Calgary MLAs say they won’t support a controversial private-member’s bill meant to extend protection for physicians’ conscience rights.

Introduced in the legislature last week by Peace River MLA and UCP backbencher Dan Williams, Bill 207 would prevent patients from submitting a professional complaint or suing a health-care worker for failing to provide a service if medical staff objects to it. The bill would also add “conscientious beliefs” as grounds protected from discrimination in the Alberta Human Rights Act. . . [Full text]

UCP MLA denies conscience rights bill limits health care access

Backbench MLA faces continued questions about potential implications of Bill 207

CBC News

Michelle Bellefontaine

The Alberta UCP MLA behind a controversial bill on conscience rights for health care providers says the bill isn’t intended to cut access to services like abortion and medical assistance in dying as critics have charged.

“I feel there is some misinformation about what the bill is trying to do and what it does do,” Peace River MLA Dan Williams told reporters Friday.   

“I want to be absolutely clear. This bill in no way categorically limits access to any services. That was not my intent, that is not what the bill does.” . . . [Full text]