Members of Saskatchewan College of Physicians and Surgeons want more time for decision
CBC News Posted: Mar 26, 2015 11:26 AM CT Last Updated: Mar 26, 2015 2:27 PM CT
Members of Saskatchewan's College of Physicians and Surgeons have deferred voting on a controversial topic.
The draft policy would not force doctors to perform any medical procedures, except in emergency, life-threatening situations. It would, however, force them to refer patients to another doctor or nurse practitioner for more advice on the topic.
The policy also notes that, "physicians must not promote their own moral or religious beliefs when interacting with a patient."
Doctors at the meeting said they hadn't had enough time to review the policy, which was first drafted in January, then revised.
The motion, unsurprisingly, sparked considerable debate at the council table among doctors.
"This is a very serious topic," said Bryan Salte, associate registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons. "There are people who feel very strongly about this. And there are people who feel very strongly about this from both perspectives."
Salte said the College received thousands of pieces of mail on the subject.
"If you look at the consultation information, you will see physicians who say you're infringing my rights, you have no right to do this, I have a charter right, and I cannot be compelled to do what you want me to do," he said. "There are others who said this doesn't go far enough, and it is simply unacceptable for physicians to not provide birth control, and every physician who is in that environment has to."
A similar policy in Ontario is currently the focus of a charter challenge by the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians' Societies.
Ontario lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos said offering a referral to another doctor violates his clients' religious rights. He also said a policy like this would drive doctors from the medical field.
"The physicians and the upcoming physicians in the medical schools will be faced with one of two options," he said. "They either comply with the policy, and they make a referral for a procedure or a pharmaceutical to which they object on moral or religious grounds, which would mean they violate their religious beliefs or their conscience, or secondly, they don't comply with the policy, and they choose not to violate their religious beliefs and they face disciplinary action from the college."
Saskatchewan's draft policy will be reviewed at the College's meeting on Saturday. It will then be circulated to members and voted on at the its next meeting in June (corrected).
To : all my Pro-Life Friends, Colleagues in Ministry, close friends and family, and others interested
The Saskatchewan Council of Physicians and Surgeons approved in principle a new policy called "Conscientious Refusal" during its meetings in the month of January.
The Policy does NOT acknowledge our Pro-Life values or the Pro-Life values held by many of our Provincial physicians. While I encourage you to go to CPSS web site to read the whole policy for yourself, two disturbing elements are :
* though recognizing that physicians' freedom of conscience should be respected, it states : Physicians can decline to provide legally permissible and publicly-funded health services if providing those services violate their freedom of conscience. However, in such situations, they must make a timely referral to another health care provider who is willing and able to accept the patient and provide the service.
* worse, in Point 5.4 of the policy, it states : When a referral to another health care provider is not possible without causing a delay that would jeopardize the patient's health or well-being, physicians must provide the patient with all health services that are legally permissible and publicly-funded and that are consented to by the patient or, in the case of an incompetent patient, by the patient's substitute decision-maker.
Not only disturbing, but this policy clearly is dangerous as it potentially would jeopardize the health of both patients as well as the unborn, the elderly, the handicapped, the mentally ill, etc...
CPSS is allowing the general public to provide input but it has to be done before their deadline of March 6th, 2015. I have prepared a lengthy submission (sorry for the length) which is attached. Please read it carefully.
As public pressure might have an impact on the Council deliberations at the end of March, if you agree with my submission, I encourage you to send an e-mail to CPSS and inform them that you are backing my submission. If, for any reason, you do not agree, that is also fine, and we will still be friends. If you have any questions, you are welcome to call me at 306-970-8675 or to e-mail me. Do not forget, the deadline to do something is March 6th, 2015!!! To e-mail CPSS, it has to be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org Bryan is CPSS' legal counsel. If you e-mail your support to the Council, please side-copy me so that I know that I am standing alone on this.
Rev. Dr. John Fryters, Ph.D., ICADC Emeritus
Voluntary Executive Director of Jubilation Program
Pastor of Under The Juniper Tree Chapel
Press Release February 7th, 2015
Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association was disappointed, but not surprised by the Supreme Court ruling on euthanasia. “This court has consistently used creativity to circumvent basic human rights as enshrined in the Charter. This is not the first time that the court has dismissed community values that treasure life for their view of individual rights”, said Colette Stang, the president of the organization.
“The ruling makes it that much more important that the organization work to elect people who will appoint judges that recognize the supremacy of God and will work to protect vulnerable life instead of following the latest fads”, she added.
The pro-life organization also is calling upon the provincial government to enact laws to ensure that the killing of patients is not covered by Medicare or hospitalization payments, and legislation to amend the Physicians and Surgeons Act to protect freedom of conscience for medical doctors who refuse to cooperate with the new law.
For further information, call Colette Stang at 306 753-2647
Well, we knew it was a matter of time but, it is in Saskatchewan sooner than what we expected...
Policy wording supplied by abortion and euthanasia activistsPolicy would apply to euthanasia, if legalized.
The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan is proposing a draft policy demanding that physicians who object to "legally permissible and publicly-funded health services" must direct patients to colleagues who will provide them. If another physician is unavailable, the College demands that they provide "legally permissible and publicly-funded" services, even if doing so "conflicts with physicians’ deeply held and considered moral or religious beliefs."
Physicians usually refuse to participate in abortion because they believe it is wrong to kill what the criminal law refers to as a child that has not become a human being.1 The proposed policy will require them to find a physician willing to do the killing they won't do. Should the Supreme Court of Canada legalize euthanasia, the policy will require objecting physicians who refuse to kill patients to find someone who will.
The seamless fit between referral for abortion and referral for euthanasia is not surprising. The draft College policy was largely written by abortion and euthanasia activists, notably Professor Jocelyn Downie of Dalhousie University.
In a 2006 guest editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Professor Downie and another law professor claimed that objecting physicians are obliged to refer patients for abortion.2 Their views were vehemently rejected by physicians and repudiated by the Canadian Medical Association.3 Partly as a result of the negative response, Professor Downie and her colleagues in the "Conscience Research Group" decided to convince Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons to impose it.4
Saskatchewan's draft policy is taken almost verbatim from their "Model Conscientious Objection Policy."
The Conscience Research Group is a tax-funded initiative that includes Professors Downie and Daniel Weinstock.5 Both were members of an “expert panel” that recommended that health care professionals who object to killing patients should be compelled to refer patients to someone who would,6 because (they claimed) it is agreed that they can be compelled to refer for “reproductive health services.”7
Current efforts by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to suppress freedom of conscience in the medical profession may have been influenced by the Conscience Research Group. However, the College in Saskatchewan is the first to copy and paste its preferred model into a draft policy.
The Project insists that it is incoherent and contrary to sound public policy to include a requirement to do what one believes to be wrong in a professional code of ethics. It is also an affront to the best traditions of liberal democracy, and, ultimately, dangerous.
The College Council has approved the policy in principle, but will accept feedback on it until 6 March, 2015.
Maurice Vellacot, Member of Parliament, issued a press release recently decrying the situation unfolding in Saskatchewan.
"No good can come from forcing a doctor to practice medicine in a way they find morally reprehensible. Killing the consciences of our medical doctors will cause inestimable harm to the people of Canada and society as a whole."
What can you do?
You can give your input to both medical organizations and let them know that forcing doctors to act against their consciences harms both our doctors and all Canadians. PLEASE copy your letter to Premier Brad Wall and to the Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Health. You can write your own letter/e-mail or, click here for a sample letter and the addresses (mailing and e-mail) to the college AND to the Premier and Minister of Health.
For the Saskatchewan College, click here.
For the Ontario College, click here.
For more information on this issue, visit the LifeCanada blog here.
For Immediate Release January 8, 2015
OTTAWA – In anticipation of the possible striking down of Canada’s laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide (pending the Supreme Court’s decision in the Carter case), and given the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO’s) draft policy “Professional Obligations and Human Rights” [i] which, if passed, would require Ontario physicians to make referrals for controversial medical procedures regardless of their conscientious/religious convictions, Member of Parliament Maurice Vellacott today issued the following statement:
I am deeply concerned about the assault on the fundamental freedoms of Ontario’s doctors should CPSO’s policy forcing doctors to make referrals for morally objectionable “treatments” pass. If the Supreme Court of Canada strikes down Canada’s current laws on euthanasia or assisted suicide, then CPSO’s policy would mean Ontario’s physicians would have a “duty to refer” patients for treatments intended to kill the patient.
From the research I have conducted, with the help of the Library of Parliament, I have learned there is not a single jurisdiction in the world that forces doctors to violate their consciences through mandatory referrals for these life-ending “treatments.” (See attached list of laws in jurisdictions which have legalized euthanasia or assisted suicide.)
We all recognize it is criminally wrong to aid or abet the commission of a criminal act.[ii] In the same way, it would be morally wrong for a doctor to aid or abet (i.e. through referral) the commission of what that doctor deems to be an immoral act – in this case, intentionally killing, or assisting in the killing of, their patient. Following one’s conscience in the provision of euthanasia or assisted suicide, then, entails making a conscientious decision not only about performing euthanasia or assisted suicide, but also about making referrals for them.
The Canadian Medical Association has long been a defender of a physician’s freedom to abstain from being involved in morally objectionable procedures. Last August, the CMA clearly expressed its support for physicians’ freedom of conscience in the provision of euthanasia and assisted suicide should those acts ever be legalized.[iii]
In spite of no jurisdiction in the world imposing on physicians a legal duty to refer for euthanasia or assisted suicide, and in spite of the support for freedom of conscience by the national medical organization representing Canada’s physicians, we have the regulatory body in Ontario poised to punish physicians who act upon their moral guidance system that tells them that killing their patients is wrong.
Over the years, there have been repeated attempts by activists and special interest groups to impose their version of morality on all health care workers (almost succeeding in 2008 to convince CPSO to impose mandatory referral, until a loud public outcry from right across the country compelled CPSO to reverse course.) Such was the threatening climate that compelled me to introduce several private members bills, in successive Parliaments, that would protect health care workers who had conscientious objections to being involved in practices that deliberately take human life.
If the Supreme Court strikes down our laws against assisted suicide/euthanasia, then it will be up to Parliament to come up with a new law. It is clear from CPSO’s actions that we can’t leave it to the regulatory bodies to protect freedom of conscience. Any new law to regulate these life-ending medical procedures will need to include explicit protection for those health care workers who won't take part in any action that aids or abets the killing of their patients.
For further information and comment, call (613) 992-1966 or (613) 297-2249; email: email@example.com
WINNIPEG - A Manitoba Conservative MP and anti-abortion advocate says he won't be asking voters to send him back to Ottawa but he hasn't ruled out running provincially.
Rod Bruinooge, who represents Winnipeg South, announced Wednesday that he plans to leave federal politics this fall to spend more time with his two young children.
He said the loss of a close family member over the Christmas holidays led to his decision to spend more time at home.
"It has reminded me how precious each moment is with my kids," he said in a statement. Read more...
The 2015 SPLA Annual Convention will be held in Saskatoon on April 24th and 25th.
Please go to the Registration Page for more information.
This year's theme is "Mother and Child - Love Them Both"
Excellent speakers, interesting topics, don't miss it!
Take advantage of the Early Bird Registration fee.
Pro-Life champion MP Maurice Vellacott shared the following National Post piece written by Barbara Kay. It is a great article explaining why Palliative Care is the only option that will truly provide a "Dying with Dignity" intervention.
"Comfort and palliative care should be available to anyone for whom death is an approaching certainty, especially when technological intervention and sustenance is not only futile, but a source of further anguish in itself.
Right now, though, palliative care is accessible to less than a third of the population. And in Quebec, if Bill 52, the proposed law to decriminalize euthanasia, comes into force — it passed a “vote in principle” last month in the National Assembly, 84-26, so is well on its way — interest in funding research, beds and training for palliative-care departments is likely to wane. This, to me, is the most troubling aspect of our culture’s fixation on assisted suicide and euthanasia as the only route to “death with dignity.”
In general, even intelligent and educated people have rather fuzzy notions about euthanasia (which is not assisted suicide, though many people conflate the two). Read more..."