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Conscience, Morality, and Freedom

Tue, November 12, 2019   |   Author: Peter Vogel   |   Volume 26    Issue 45 | Share: Facebook | Twitter   

Should you have to violate your conscience to do your job? If the answer is, “get a different job if it conflicts with your morality”. That response might be good enough for some, but it’s not a responsible answer given some facts on the ground.

Right now, if someone who has a moral objection to euthanasia decided to become a doctor and practice in Ontario, he or she would have think seriously about the long-term implications. Doctors in Ontario must give an effective referral for procedures that they can’t or don’t want to do. For instance, if one of their patients requests to be euthanized, the doctor is legally required to refer him or her to another doctor who will euthanize them (if certain conditions are met). This means that the doctor with the moral objection becomes complicit in a procedure to which he or she is opposed. This situation discourages certain people from becoming doctors. It also means that those who were already doctors have had the rules change, though their moral compass has not.

That is the bad news. The good news is that there is movement in the Province of Alberta to push back in the opposite direction. Dan Williams, a ‘backbencher,’ has put forward a Private Member’s Bill (Bill 207 PDF) to protect the conscience rights of doctors allowing them to refuse to participate in procedures to which they have a moral objection.

This bill is already facing serious opposition in the media; the “right to access” is being pitted against the freedom of conscience that doctors ought to have.

Let’s think about the big picture for a minute; medical procedures are not like fast-food service where you can order a hamburger without the meat, or without the bun, or however you want it. Doctors are dealing with real people, and have an obligation to look after the long-term needs of the patients, not just their immediate wishes. For instance, someone in excruciating pain after an injury might demand to be killed to be ‘put out of their misery’ but a doctor must not do that. They have a duty to care and preserve life.

We have just remembered the sacrifices made by our armed forces to preserve our freedom. Let’s also remember that, in Canada, there was a role for those who consciously objected to killing, even in battle. They still served their country in various non-combat and non-military roles. Surely this example from our history should cause some to see that conscientious objection is an important Canadian freedom.

Let’s not have to say a few years from now, “first they came for the doctors (and other medical personnel), but I wasn’t a doctor, so I didn’t speak up, then they came for….” Speak up now. Speak up for the rights of doctors. Speak out against the morally repugnant medical procedures such as assisted suicide and abortion that are creating this situation in the first place.

Also, call for fellow citizens (and politicians) to support the reinstatement of the Hippocratic Oath, which affirmed: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.”

We are not only against what is wrong, we are for what is good — and freedom of conscience is a good and necessary freedom. Pray that Alberta will lead the way with comprehensive conscientious protection legislation, and that more provinces will follow (Note: Manitoba already has protections in place for medical personnel who refuse to refer for euthanasia but has no similar protections in regard to abortion). Lives will be saved and Canadians with moral scruples will again be able to enter the medical profession without fear.

What other federal political party in Canada stands for freedom of conscience? If you believe this freedom is important, please join CHP and get involved for the good of Canada!

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