Doctor Refuses To Prescribe Medicine, Faces Court Action

| by Tony Tran
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Canadian doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control to their patients may face punishment from the Canadian government.

According to the National Post, doctors who refuse medical service due to their "personal values" or "religious conviction" could now be subjected to disciplinary action from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario -- Canada's largest medical regulator.

"You cannot kick someone out of your office without care," Dr. Marc Gabel, former president of the college and chairman of the regulation's spearheaders. 

The legislation is part of an update to their Professional and Human Rights policy that was subjected to a vote on Friday. The issue landed with 21-3 in support of the resolution.

Council members opposed to the resolution are concerned that the new policy could lead to "state-run medicine," forcing doctors and medical care professionals to conduct actions that the state demands and not necessarily what is best for the patient. 

Although the policy does not directly address issues such as doctor-assisted death, the legalization of doctor-assisted deaths in February of next year could complicate the issue. Under the new policy, doctors who refuse to themselves perform the actions that conflict with their moral duties are to refer the patients to a "non-objecting, available and accessible physician or health-care provider." And in the case of emergencies, doctors would be forced to perform the actions and provide care themselves, regardless of their beliefs. 

This policy came about after an incident last year led to a few doctors making national headlines for refusing to provide medical care based on their religious stances. In one of the cases, a doctor from Calgary refused to prescribe contraception based on her beliefs and posted a sign in the window saying "that the physician on duty today will not prescribe the birth control pill." However, the women seeking the pill were referred to other doctors who would prescribe it.

Source: The National Post

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