Religious hospital in Antigonish, N.S., has agreement with province allowing it to forego MAID provision
Nova Scotia’s only Catholic hospital is at risk of being found in violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights legislation by refusing to provide medical assistance in dying, a Halifax law professor says.
St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., is a publicly funded health-care facility. But due to its religious ties, staff are not permitted to provide MAID. . . [Full text]
The Brickendens are one of the few couples in Canada to receive a doctor-assisted death together, and the first to speak about it publicly
The Globe and Mail
When George and Shirley Brickenden tell the story of how they met, it’s like watching a charming little play unfold – one the couple might have workshopped for seven decades.
It was Christmas in Halifax, 1944. He was in the Navy and she was in the Air Force. Mr. Brickenden’s mother had tried to set them up earlier, but the timing didn’t pan out.
Mr. Brickenden, 95, grinned as he explained why.
“I said, ‘I haven’t got time for her for a few days because I’ve got a few dates.'”
Three of the couple’s four children, sitting nearby, groaned and laughed. They had heard this before.
Mrs. Brickenden, 94, interjected. “I was engaged to somebody else!”
“He’s always saying that he had to break his dates and he never mentions that I already had a ring.”
The Brickendens were reminiscing in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail about their first date – a fairy-tale evening that led Mr. Brickenden to propose marriage six days later – knowing that less than a week after the interview, they would be dead. . . [Full Text]
The Catholic Register
While doctors who lost their right to practise medicine according to their conscience contemplate a legal appeal, a prominent pro-euthanasia organization suspects faith-based hospitals, nursing homes and hospices may be next to face demands to accommodate euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Dying With Dignity, Canada believes an Ontario Divisional Court decision that compels doctors to refer for euthanasia and assisted suicide may become a springboard to court challenges aimed at the conscience rights of institutions which refuse to assist in the death of patients.
“It’s really interesting. I think that the question is going to be debated in the coming days and weeks, if not months, by lawyers,” Dying with Dignity CEO Shanaaz Gokool told The Catholic Register.
In a unanimous Jan. 31 decision, a panel of three judges agreed that the religion rights of doctors under the Charter are violated by a policy which demands a formal referral for assisted suicide and other procedures. But the judges nonetheless ruled against the doctors because, they said, there is a greater public interest in ensuring “equitable access to such medical services as are legally available.” . . . [Full Text]
The Globe and Mail
In the first Canadian test of conscience rights for doctors who oppose assisted death, an Ontario court has upheld regulations requiring the objectors to refer their patients to physicians willing to perform the procedure.
Groups representing 4,700 Christian doctors had challenged Ontario’s regulations requiring the referrals, saying that making such a referral was morally equivalent to participating in an assisted death.
But Ontario’s Divisional Court said the referral rule was a reasonable limit on doctors’ freedom of religion because it protects vulnerable patients from harm. And those patients, it said, have a constitutional right to equitable access to publicly funded health care.
Without the policy of “effective referral,” equitable access would be “compromised or sacrificed, in a variety of circumstances, more often than not involving vulnerable members of our society at the time of requesting services,” Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel wrote in the 3-0 ruling on Wednesday. . . [Full text]
Dying with Dignity Canada says Bill 34 doesn’t protect patients’ rights to access assisted dying
A bill that would protect Manitoba health professionals’ rights to refuse assisted dying services and protect them from reprisals is being called redundant and one-sided.
Bill 34, which was introduced in May and hasn’t yet reached a second reading in the House, would ensure health professionals cannot be compelled to go against their own religious or ethical beliefs when it comes to providing medical assistance in dying (MAID) services.
It would also ban any professional regulatory body from requiring members to participate in medically assisted deaths, which were made legal by the Supreme Court in 2015. . . [Full text]