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Letter of support on Conscience Bill C-230

07 March 2022
Mrs. Kelly Block, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
 
Dear Mrs. Block,
 
Thank you for taking the initiative to introduce Bill C-230, the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act.
 
Bill C-230 clarifies that health care professionals must not be coerced into participating – either directly or indirectly - in medical assistance in dying. It offers much needed assurance that they will not be forced to choose between violating their conscience and losing their job.

Doctors and other health care professionals may object to medical assistance in dying for any number of reasons, including conscience, religious beliefs, ethics or personal convictions.
 
This protection is needed now more than ever, as medical assistance in dying has been expanded to include Canadians who are not dying and will be available to those with mental illness alone next year. Parliament is poised to study MAID for mature minors and those who are not able to give consent at the time of the hastened death. Media reports tell of patients who are asking for MAID because they have inadequate housing or financial and social supports.

For some doctors and nurse practitioners, having to make an effective referral is akin to performing the procedure itself. Whether they end a patient’s life themselves or arrange for it to be done by someone else (via effective referral), they are still participating in the process. An effective referral is their judgment on the particular course of medical treatment or procedure they deem to be in the best interest of the patient.

No medical professional should be forced to participate in taking the life of a patient.
 
Freedom of conscience is a core principle in Canadian life and one of the first fundamental freedoms listed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
 
We support this legislation and commend you for introducing it.