Conscience rights bill will infringe on patients’ access to services, legal experts say

Star Edmonton

Nadine Yousif

EDMONTON—Legal experts say a bill tabled in the Alberta legislature that aims to protect conscience rights of health care providers may have dire consequences for access to health care services in the province, despite the assertion of the government that it will not.

Peace River backbench MLA Dan Williams tabled Bill 207 in the legislature on Thursday — he said the bill seeks to affirm the Charter rights of physicians and nurses who object to providing certain medical procedures on the basis of moral or religious obligations. . . [Full text]

Reaction grows to bill that would allow doctors to refuse procedures based on moral objections

Some say the bill could put women’s and LGBTQ rights in question

CBC News

Natalie Valleau

Public debate swelled Friday after United Conservative Party MLAs voted to advance a private member’s bill that some say could put women’s and LGBTQ rights in question.

The bill would not only let Alberta doctors refuse to advise or assist on things they object to due to for personal or religious beliefs — like abortions, contraception or medically assisted death (MAID) — but also drops the current obligation that they steer patients elsewhere for help. . . [Full text]

Bill 207 challenges abortion access based on ‘conscience’

Calgary Herald

Don Braid

. . . The episode masked a much more consequential matter this week — the introduction of Bill 207, called the “Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers Protection Act.)”

It might seem innocuous at first, but this bill is a significant backdoor effort to limit patient access to abortion, all in the name of conscience.

The private member’s bill, sponsored by Peace River UCP MLA Dan Williams, will be debated and quite possibly passed.

It provides immunity from complaint or discipline to health providers that refuse to deal with patients whose needs offend their conscience. . . [Full text]

Alberta private member’s bill aiming for physician conscience rights moves forward

Edmonton Journal

Lisa Johnson

A bill that aims to protect the conscience rights of physicians passed first reading in the Alberta legislature Thursday, cracking open a debate around the rights and responsibilities of physicians asked to assist or advise on abortions, contraception or medically assisted deaths.

UCP backbencher MLA Dan Williams introduced the private member’s bill to reassert the Charter-protected freedom of conscience and religion for health providers.

“Health care providers should never have to choose between their most deeply held beliefs and their job,” said Williams in a written statement released after the vote. . . [Full text]