Welcome to the Nexus of Ethics, Psychology, Morality, Philosophy and Health Care

Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Religious doctors who don’t want to refer patients for assisted dying have launched a hopeless court case

Derek Smith
Special to National Post 
Originally posted June 12, 2017

In a case being heard this week in an Ontario divisional court, a group of Christian doctors have launched a constitutional challenge against the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. The college requires religious doctors who refuse to offer medical assistance in dying (MAID) to give an “effective referral” so that the patient can receive the procedure from a willing doctor nearby.

The doctors say that the college has limited their religious freedom under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms unjustifiably. They argue that a referral endorses the procedure and helps kill, breaking God’s commandment. In their view, patients should have to find willing doctors themselves and “self-refer,” sparing religious objectors from sin and a guilty conscience.

The college should certainly accommodate religious objectors more than it currently does, but the lawsuit will likely fail. It deserves to fail.

Religious freedom sometimes has to yield to laws that prevent religious people from harming others. The Supreme Court of Canada has emphasized this in limiting religious freedom on a wide range of topics, including denials of blood transfusions, witnesses wearing niqabs in criminal trials, child custody disputes, accountability for unaccredited church schools and bans on Sunday shopping.

The article is here.