[Editor's note: See more on conscience in healthcare including a sample letter you can send]
Mr. David Anderson, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Thank you for taking the initiative to introduce Bill C-418, the Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act
Bill C-418 clarifies that health care professionals must not be compelled to participate, directly or indirectly, in medical assistance in dying. It offers much needed assurance for health care workers, such as nurses, doctors, pharmacists and others, that they will not be forced to choose between violating their conscience and losing their job.
For doctors and nurse practitioners who object, having to make an effective referral is akin to performing the procedure itself, because whether they end a patient’s life themselves or arrange for it to be done by someone else (via effective referral), they are still making it happen. In an effective referral, a doctor or nurse practitioner is giving their judgment on the particular course of medical treatment or procedure they deem to be in the best interest of the patient.
Doctors and other health care professionals may object to medical assistance in dying for any number of reasons: conscience, religious beliefs, ethics or moral convictions.
Freedom of conscience is a core principle in Canadian life and is one of the first fundamental freedoms listed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
We support this legislation and commend you for introducing it.
Julia Beazley, Director, Public Policy
Author: Julia Beazley