Dying medical assistance: Bill to protect doctors’ rights fails

Nearly all Conservative members of Parliament voted for a bill that they say would protect the right of conscience of medical professionals when it comes to dying medical assistance.

The private member’s bill was defeated in the House of Commons on Wednesday by a vote of 203 to 115, despite receiving support from most of the Tories, including their new leader, Pierre Poilievre.

The bill was introduced by Kelly Block, a Conservative MP from Saskatchewan who supports the party’s social conservatives, which support the right of conscience.

MPs and the ruling Liberal party from the NDP and the Bloc of Quebecois voted against the proposed law, which seeks to change the Penal Code to protect medical professionals from having to “directly or indirectly” “Participate in medical assistance upon death.

A list of votes recorded on the House of Commons website showed no votes were registered for Melissa Lantsman, one of the party’s two deputy leaders, as well as MPs Eric Duncan, Dave Epp and Richard Martel .

Kevin Vuong, an independent MP for downtown Toronto riding Spadina-Fort York, also voted in favor of Block’s bill and appears to be the only non-conservative to have done so.

Block’s proposal would violate it if it threatened or fired a healthcare worker who refused to provide a medically assisted death or provide a referral for service.

The Liberal Government has long said there is nothing in its law that forces a medical professional to “provide or help provide” a procedure if it conflicts with their personal beliefs.

The Ontario Court of Appeal also ruled that allowing doctors to refuse a referral would stigmatize already vulnerable patients and limit their access to medical services.

Despite this, many Conservatives oppose the federal Liberal government’s handling of their medical assistance in the dying regime and feel there are insufficient protections available to those receiving care. strong.

Block released a statement following Wednesday’s vote, saying that medical professionals were increasingly concerned that they “could be forced to participate” in the procedure, as there were plans to expand it. .

Campaign Life Coalition, an anti-abortion organization that supports Tory MPs who also oppose the procedure, welcomed the Block’s proposal after Wednesday’s defeat.

Advocates of the right to conscience have previously been clear that they feel they should apply for a range of medical services, including abortion and transgender surgery.

This Canadian Press report was first published on October 5, 2022.


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