Maurice Vellacott, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Wanuskewin issued a press release on January 8 concerning physician referrals and conscientious objection. Mr. Vellacott wrote in anticipation of the Supreme Court decision possibly striking down the prohibition on euthanasia and assisted suicide. He expressed concern for physicians who might be forced to refer for procedures to which they object for reasons of conscience and religious beliefs in light of the draft policy of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). If this policy is approved, physicians would be expected to refer patients to a non-objecting physician. He says:
“…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.”
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 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).
… 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.”
Again to repeat the results of the research conducted by Mr. Vellacott with help from the Library of Parliament, there is no requirement forcing physicians to refer for assisted suicide and euthanasia in any of the jurisdictions where these practices are legal.
For the full press release see: www.mauricevellacott.ca/maurice.html