Submission to College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario – Policy 5-08
On Tuesday, August 5, ARPA’s legal counsel sent a formal submission to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario with respect to their policy as it relates to conscience rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The College had requested feedback as it underwent consultations while reviewing their policy. At stake is whether doctors have the right
to refuse treatment if they have conscientious objections to the treatment. For example, can a Christian doctor refuse to prescribe birth control pills if that particular doctor thinks that such a prescription is unethical, or is bad medicine? What if the objection is religiously motivated? These are not just hypothetical questions: three doctors in Ottawa recently came under fire for refusing to prescribe the birth control pill.
As you will read in ARPA’s submission (a copy is appended below), there were many legal submissions made to the College that correctly and thoroughly outlined the law as it relates to protecting doctors’ conscience rights.
(You may eventually see some of those submissions here – look for the PDF submissions.) We decided to focus more on the public policy side of the discussion – what happens when we undermine the religious freedom of doctors? We argued that medicine and quality care will suffer.
We welcome your feedback on this submission as well. Feel free to email us with your thoughts.