Protect Canadian doctors’ conscience rights
by Terry McDermott. July 9, 2014.
At the Westglen Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Dr. Chantal Barry will not prescribe artificial contraception. You know when she is on duty because of a sign that reads: The physician on duty today will not prescribe the birth control pill.
In Ottawa, Dr. Edmond Kyrillos is one of three doctors who will not prescribe birth control. In a letter to patients of CareMedics Medical Clinic where Dr. Kyrillos is on staff, he says:
Please be advised that because of reasons of my own medical judgment as well as professional ethical reasons and religious values, I only provide one form of birth control, Natural Family Planning. In addition, I do not refer for vasectomies, abortions, nor prescribe the morning after pill or any artificial contraception. If you are interested in the latter, please be aware that you may approach your own family doctor or request to be seen by another physician.
There has been much negative reaction to the doctors’ stance. Commenters at the Huffington Post cited chauvinism, disrespect for women, and archaic thinking in their criticism of Dr. Kyrillos. At the National Post, the online argument between supporters and critics of Dr. Chantal Barry’s refusal to prescribe the birth control pill was long and heated.
At present, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) supports physicians such as Dr. Barry and Dr. Kyrillos. They have not acted counter to the CMA’s Best Practice Guidelines or policies. The CMA recognizes that physicians will practice medicine in light of their personal moral and religious beliefs.
In Ontario, the Physicians and the Ontario Human Rights Code Policy specifies that physicians must:
communicate clearly and promptly about any treatments or procedures the physician chooses not to provide because of his or her moral or religious beliefs.