Doctors should not face “coercion and professional bullying” if they oppose medical assistance in dying (MAID), said Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen, speaking in support of a fellow Conservative MP’s proposal for a ‘physician conscience rights protection bill.’
On Thursday, Feb. 18, Jansen officially seconded bill C-268, a proposal by Kelly Block, Conservative MP for Carlton Trail – Eagle Creek.
“It would ensure that medical professionals who choose to not take part in, or refer a patient for, euthanasia or medical assistance in dying would never be forced by violence, threats, coercion or loss of employment to violate the sovereign rights we all enjoy by virtue of our citizenship in this nation,” Block told the House of Commons.
Jansen described the bill as “very timely” given the passing of numerous amendments to Bill C7 by the Senate that week, “which seek to expand euthanasia well past what the bill originally intended.”
“We ignore conscience rights to our peril,” Jansen warned.
“Regardless of what sort of medical service one is being compelled to offer, doctors need to be protected from coercion and professional bullying. They are trained in how to best treat their patient. They make decisions based on their deep knowledge and experience. They are not simply service providers. They are caretakers of human life. Their conscience plays a huge role when making health care judgments on behalf of their patients.”
Jansen noted the Block bill “mirrors one that my dear mentor and friend, MP Mark Warawa, tabled in 2016.”
“I hope to see this bill achieve maximum support in the House so that our medical profession remains a place that allows doctors to make decisions that best serve their patients rather than political ideologies,” she said.
“Our doctors deserve better.”
Warawa wanted to make it an offence to “intimidate a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or any other health care professional for the purpose of compelling them to take part, directly or indirectly, in the provision of medical assistance in dying,” but the proposed legislation was not passed.
Rob Moore, the Conservative party shadow minister for justice, said the party has “heard from persons with disabilities and medical professionals who have made clear they believe the expansion of MAID in Bill C-7 is dangerous and requires more scrutiny.”
“The Liberals must ensure Bill C-7 receives thorough legislative review and comprehensive debate in the House of Commons so that Members can scrutinize the impacts of these amendments on Canadians,” Moore declared.
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