Alberta private member’s bill to protect doctors’ conscience rights rejected by committee

The Globe and Mail

James Keller

An Alberta private member’s bill that would have protected doctors’ rights to refuse to perform procedures or refer patients for moral reasons has been voted down at committee.

The vote means the bill, which prompted allegations that the United Conservative Party government was attempting to reopen debates about abortion and assisted dying, is likely dead, with several UCP members voting against it. Critics of the bill argued it would be unconstitutional and accused Premier Jason Kenney of breaking an election promise that abortion would not be on the agenda if his party formed the government. . . [Full text]

Consultation, possible changes after pushback against conscience rights bill

Edmonton Journal

Lisa Johnson

Backbench UCP MLA Dan Williams continued to take heat from the NDP Opposition Monday for introducing conscience rights legislation and offered changes to the controversial bill meant to protect health-care access.

“My intention with offering these amendments is a genuine olive branch, a genuine attempt to say ‘the purpose of this bill is to protect conscience rights, and in no way has any desire to limit access,’” said Williams, MLA for Peace River, in a committee on private member’s bills. . . [Full text]

Lack of public input stalls physician conscience bill at legislature committee

MLA who put private member’s bill forward has already drawn up amendments

CBC News

A wave of public debate over a bill that aims to support the conscience beliefs of medical professionals has the Peace River MLA who drew up the bill already making adjustments. 

Speaking to a legislature standing committee, Dan Williams said he’d had numerous discussions since introducing Bill 207 on Nov. 7, prompting him to draft amendments to address concerns he was hearing. [Full text]

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]

Alberta medical regulator wants College of Family Physicians of Canada to help improve abortion pill access

The Globe and Mail

Carly Weeks

Alberta’s medical regulator is calling on the college representing Canada’s family doctors to help it boost prescribing rates of the abortion pill, saying the current poor access in the province is putting patients at risk . . .

. . . A Globe and Mail investigation on Saturday revealed that the majority of abortion-pill prescriptions across Canada are being written at abortion clinics, which are primarily located in large urban centres. . .[Full text]