May 29, 2024

Conscientious objection safe in Ontario

Conscientious objection safe in Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons retreats from earlier position
The regulatory body for doctors in the Canadian province of Ontario has
retreated from a policy of low tolerance for conscientious objection and
non-referral. A draft policy for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of
Ontario advised doctors that they could expect to be deregistered if they
appeared to discriminate in the judgement of the Ontario Human Rights
Commission. "There will be times when it may be necessary for physicians to set
aside their personal beliefs in order to ensure that patients or potential
patients are provided with the medical treatment and services they require,"
they stated.

Furthermore, doctors could not rely upon support from the College if they
refused to provide services such as IVF for same-sex couples, contraceptives or
abortion or refused to refer patients to other doctors. "Irrespective of whether
a physician’s actions are found to have violated the Code, the
physician’s conduct could constitute an act of professional misconduct," the
draft said.

The draft code was opposed by religious groups and by the Ontario Medical
Association. "Referring is just a way of sloughing off your responsibility,"
Rabbi Reuven Bulka commented. "If you’re opposed to these things, referring is
the same as taking part in the evil." ~ National Post, Sept