‘We don’t support abandoning our patients,’ Edmonton doctor says
A controversial conscience rights bill that critics say would reduce access to health care is back up for discussion in the legislature Monday — and Edmonton doctors are urging the government to vote it down.
On Nov. 21, the standing committee on private bills and private members’ public bills determined Bill 207 should not move forward for debate. The legislature will vote Monday on whether to accept the all-party committee’s recommendation.
“This bill needs to die,” said Dr. Shelley Duggan, a critical care physician who works at Covenant Health facilities in Edmonton. . . [Full text]
The Catholic Register
EDMONTON — A United Conservative Party MLA has lost his bid to strengthen the rights of health-care providers in Alberta to refuse procedures contrary to their moral beliefs.
Dan Williams’ Bill 207, the Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act, was shot down by his fellow members of the legislature who sit on the assembly’s standing committee for private members’ bills. Eight of 10 committee members voted against the bill’s second reading, including some of Williams’ UCP colleagues.
Neither Premier Jason Kenney nor Health Minister Tyler Shandro had voiced support for the bill. Nevertheless, Williams will continue to advocate for conscience rights. . . [Full text]
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]
Medicine Hat News
Bill 207 has been aborted, at least for the time being.
The controversial piece of legislation, which would have allowed
health-care providers to refuse to provide certain medical services
under the guise of “freedom of conscience,” was quashed Thursday night
It was a thinly-veiled effort to roll back abortion, assisted suicide and transgender rights as a concession to the religious right. It rightfully provoked fierce public backlash from the very health-care providers whose rights it purported to protect. . . [Full text]
For Albertans dismayed at the political cynicism on display
during the breakneck passage of Bill 22, it was gratifying to see an
otherwise disheartening week at the legislature end with one small act
of democratic redemption.
Like finding a precious keepsake that survived a fire, the rejection of Bill 207 by a legislature committee Thursday night restored at least some faith that not all is lost with Alberta’s politics.
Such an outcome was vital, not just for stopping legislation that could have done real harm to patients in the name of imagined threats to “conscience rights,” but also for the process which actually saw UCP and NDP MLAs engage in a (mostly) thoughtful discussion and come to a commendable conclusion. . .[Full text]