By Letter to the Editor on November 16, 2019.
The Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act, Bill 207, has been introduced into the Alberta Legislature that, if passed into law, would make it radically more difficult for every Albertan to access medical aid in dying (MAID).
It would allow doctors who hold personal views that oppose MAID to refuse referring patients who want information or help in applying for it. It means that doctors’ personal views would be more important than the help needed by dying patients. Or any other patient.
The bill also provides unwarranted protection to institutions, such as Covenant Health (St. Mike’s), that refuse to allow assisted dying on their premises. Since 2016, more than 100 people in Alberta, including a good friend of mine, have had to transfer out of these facilities on the very day that they arranged to die. Now that’s barbaric!
If dying is not yet a concern, perhaps you are concerned about the rights of people who want access to abortion, vasectomies, gender reassignment surgery, hysterectomies. Under Bill 207 the health-care provider can simply refuse to provide the service if it’s against their conscience.
Section 3 of the bill states, “If a health-care provider or religious health-care organization determines that their conscientious beliefs would be infringed by providing a specific health-care service to an individual, the health-care provider or religious health-care organization is not required to provide that health-care service to the individual.”
It brings religion into health care. It is outrageous. Doctors’ rights must not trump patients’ rights.
I urge every potential and present patient in Alberta to raise their voices and demand that this bill be withdrawn by the UCP government.