Doctors who refuse to provide services on moral grounds could face discipline under new Ontario policy

National Post

Sharon Kirkey

Doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control or other medical services because of their personal values could face possible disciplinary actions, Canada’s largest medical regulator says.

Moral or religious convictions of a doctor cannot impede a patient’s access to care, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario said Friday in a 21-3 vote supporting an updated Professional and Human Rights policy.

The policy makes clear: “You cannot kick someone out of your office without care,” said Dr. Marc Gabel, past president of the college and chairman of the policy’s working group.

Some council members said the new code, which the college expects physicians to comply with or face complaints of professional misconduct, could lead to “state-run” medicine, while others said the church has no place in a doctor’s office. . . [Full text]

UPDATED: Ontario doctors must refer for abortions, says College of Physicians

The Catholic Register

Michael Swan

TORONTO – Despite an overwhelmingly negative response from members of the public, physicians and organizations during a three-month online consultation, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons voted 21-3 to force doctors to refer for abortions, contraception and other legal treatments or procedures even if they have moral or religious objections.

A last-minute submission from the Ontario Medical Association urging the college not to force doctors to act directly against their moral or religious convictions failed to sway the governing council of the college to reconsider wording that demands doctors provide “an effective referral to another health-care provider” despite personal convictions, whether religious or moral.

The college did not provide a statistical breakdown of the 16,000 submissions it received online, other than to say that 90 per cent were from members of the public and most were against the policy. . . [Full text]

A watchdog in need of a leash

Ontario College of Physicians manipulates consultation process

New Release

For immediate release

Protection of Conscience Project

It appears that the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is manipulating its consultation process to support a controversial draft policy intended to force doctors to do what they believe to be wrong.

The College is intervening in a Discussion Forum about Professional Obligations and Human Rights (POHR), apparently to discredit critics and defend the policy. The Forum is supposed to be used by the public to provide feedback on the policy, and to post emails and written submissions the College receives from the public.

But on 29 January the College posted a comment accusing Professor Margaret Somerville of misrepresenting its policy in a National Post column. The comment included a link to a letter to the National Post from College President, Dr. Carol Leet.

Not content with interfering in the consultation by posting its own statement, the College impersonated anonymous forum participants and used its statement to reply to comments supporting Professor Somerville‚Äôs “modest proposal.”

Someone at the College seems to have had second thoughts about impersonating participants, because the replies were revised a couple of days later to identify the College as the author. But the purported correction of participant responses still violates College policy.

Sean Murphy, Administrator of the Protection of Conscience Project, thinks College officials are interfering in the consultation because they are afraid that more people will begin to realize what the draft policy really means.

“In her National Post column, Professor Somerville succinctly critiqued the draft policy, and offered a reasonable alternative,” he said. “If Dr. Leet disagreed, she was within her rights to write a letter to the editor.”

“But,” he added, “interfering in the consultation process is unacceptable.”

Murphy observed that the College is supposed to be the watchdog protecting the public and profession from unethical conduct.

“It seems this watchdog needs a leash.”

For details, see A watchdog in need of a leash: Ontario College of Physicians manipulates consultation process

Doctors who oppose abortion should leave family medicine: Ontario College of Physicians

LifeSite News

Steve Weatherbe

Family doctors who object to referring patients for abortions should think about switching specialties, the man overseeing the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons’ revision of its ethics policy said this week.

Dr. Marc Gabel, a Toronto psychotherapist and past president of the college, told LifeSiteNews on Thursday that if his committee’s proposed revision of the college’s “Professional Obligations and Human Rights” is adopted, then if doctors refuse to refer patients to abortionists, or to doctors willing to prescribe contraceptives, they could face disciplinary action.

“If there were a complaint, every complaint is investigated by the complaint committee,” Dr. Gabel said. The complaint committee could deliver a mild private rebuke or turn over the matter to the disciplinary committee, which Gabel chaired for several years.

According to Dr. Carol Leet, the new president of the college, a doctor found guilty of professional misconduct by the disciplinary committee could face anything from remedial instruction to loss of his or her medical licence. . . [Full text]