09 Nov 2017 Passed: Manitoba’s Bill 34 to protect conscience rights
**UPDATE: Bill 34 passed the Manitoba Legislature unanimously. Please be sure to thank your MLA. You can use our EasyMail here.**
Following the federal government’s law that legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in 2016, Manitoba’s PC government introduced Bill 34 to protect the conscience rights of medical professionals who rightly don’t believe it is ethical to assist in killing.
Already at the bill’s introduction the Manitoba NDP opposed it, saying it was unnecessary. Since then, it appears the NDP and independent MLA Steven Fletcher may be trying to directly or indirectly stall the bill, with the hopes of it dying on the order paper. Opponents to the legislation are arguing that Bill 34 is not necessary because the federal law already protects conscience rights and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba has standards that allow conscientious objectors.
That sounds convincing on the surface. But the reality is that these colleges and associations can and do change their standards. And, as we see in Ontario, the College there demands that physicians provide an “effective referral”. In other words, they have to help people find someone to kill the patient. Understandably this violates the consciences of many Christian medical professionals and explains why a group of physicians has challenged the policy in Ontario. The fact that Ontario’s College requires these “effective referrals” also reflects the lack of protection coming from the federal law.
Manitoba’s government is to be commended for showing leadership in protecting conscience rights, and provincial law is the appropriate place to ensure this protection is meaningful and real.
If the Manitoba government does not see adequate support for Bill 34, it is possible that it will die on the order paper. It is our job to do what we can to make it clear to the Premier, Health Minister, and Health Critic, that this legislation must become law.
- Pray for the protection of conscience rights across this land, and for Bill 34 in Manitoba;
- Make a short and friendly phone call to your MLA, as well as the offices of the Premier, Health Minister, and Health Critic, simply asking them to do what they can to pass Bill 34 into law as soon as possible. Point to Ontario to explain that this legislation is necessary;
- Encourage others to do the same by forwarding this email.
Whether you have 5 minutes or an hour, all of us can do something to stand up for people of faith and conscience in an already very difficult calling.