Medical schools should deny applicants who object to provide abortion, assisted death: bioethicist

Global News

Rachel Browne

A bioethicist is calling for medical schools to eliminate applicants who would oppose providing medical services over objections to them based on their personal beliefs.

The call from Udo Schuklenk, a Queen’s University professor and the Ontario Research Chair in Bioethics, comes as the Alberta government grappled with a controversial bill that would have allowed health-care providers to refuse to provide medical care if they object to it on religious or moral grounds. . . [Full text]

Religious Discrimination Bill may deny ‘vulnerable’ rural patients health care, AMA warns

ABC News

Lauren Roberts

The health of “vulnerable” people living in remote communities across Australia could be put at risk if the Commonwealth pushes ahead with its Religious Discrimination Bill 2019, experts say.

Australian Medical Association NT president Dr Rob Parker has written to Federal Attorney-General Christian Porter asking for significant changes to the proposed legislation.

Dr Parker was concerned conservative doctors could deny vulnerable patients health care on moral grounds, leaving them with few other options. . . [Full text]

Beware the “Fake News” on Conscience Rights

Cutting Through the Abortion Distortion on Protections for Pro-Life Medical Professionals

American Center for Law and Justice

Francis J. Manion

You may have seen this past week headlines from a variety of news outlets loudly proclaiming the death of conscience rights: “Trump’s ‘conscience rule’ for health providers blocked by federal judge.” “Second federal judge strikes down Trump’s ‘conscience protection’ rule for health care providers.” Both the headlines and, for the most part, the stories themselves give the impression that, as usual, the independent federal judiciary has had to come to the rescue of all that is good and true by thwarting the latest attempt by “Trump” and his “religious right” henchpeople to impose their troglodyte, Taliban-esque views on Americans who just want to be treated in hospitals and doctors’ offices without interference from small-minded religious fanatics.

But it’s fake news. The decisions of the U.S. District Courts in New York and Washington addressed a set of administrative regulations – housekeeping stuff – adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year for how HHS wants to go about interpreting and enforcing pre-existing conscience protection laws. The laws themselves remain untouched and, as the New York court made clear, its decision leaves HHS at liberty to enforce existing conscience laws and to adopt rules governing how they go about doing that. . . [Full text]

Cardinal Archbishop of Toronto: Canadian situation “grim”

Health care professionals who do not wish to participate in killing their patients need protection

Sean Murphy*

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. 

Whose Rights Come First: Doctors’ or Patients’?

Medscape

Arthur L. Caplan

Hi. I’m Art Caplan. I’m at the Division of Medical Ethics at the NYU School of Medicine. Conscientious objection—everybody seems to be talking about it these days. What are the rights of physicians, pharmacists, nurses, or other healthcare workers to say that something may be legal but they refuse to do it?

This issue has come up particularly as more and more health systems are merging. You see Catholic hospitals merging with secular hospitals. Catholic hospitals have a huge presence in the American world of hospitals and nursing homes, probably accounting for 40% of all facilities. When mergers take place, whose values predominate? . . [Full text]

(Project response: Freedom of conscience in healthcare: “an interesting moral swamp?”)