SUPPORT RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE
Medical professionals' rights of conscience should be protected
Since physician assisted suicide was legalized in Canada in 2016, over 21,000 Canadian have died by Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD). In March of this year, Bill C-7 was passed, making MAiD even more accessible.
Currently, Manitoba is the only province with Conscience Rights Protection for medical professionals under provincial legislation. This bill was passed with all-party support after Manitoba lawmakers received more than 14,000 letters.
Under Manitoba’s legislation, medical professionals can refuse to participate in MAiD if it violates their personal convictions. They cannot be required to provide MAiD and cannot suffer repercussions in their job as a result.
The rest of Canada is not so fortunate, which is why MP Kelly Block has tabled Bill C-268, the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act.
Bill C-268 would change the Criminal Code of Canada and make it a criminal offense to intimidate a health care professional to compel them to participate in providing MAiD. It would also protect medical professionals from being hired or fired based on their willingness to take part in providing MAiD, directly or indirectly.
Bill C-268 had its first hour of debate on Thursday, May 27th. The second hour of debate on Bill C-268 is schedule to take place on September 20th following the House of Commons’ summer recess.
However, should a general election be called this summer, Bill C-268 will “die on the order paper,” meaning it will cease to exist. The legislative process will need to start over in the new Parliament following the election.
Please email your MP and ask them to support Bill C-268, as well as ask them to encourage their Party leader and the Party’s platform development teams to include conscience rights for medical professionals in their election platform.
Together we can make a difference for life.