Monday, May 13, 2019

America moves to protect Conscience rights for healthcare professionals.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The Trump administration announced recently an order to protect conscience rights for healthcare workers in America. According to CNBC:
In a release last week, the Health and Human Services announced the issuance of its final “conscience” rule, which it said follows President Donald Trump’s May 2017 executive order and his pledge “to promote and protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious liberty.”
According to CNBC critics of the Trump conscience rights provision claim that it will lead to more discrimination. The city of San Fransisco has gone as far as filing a lawsuit claiming that conscience rights, as outlined by President Trump, are unconstitional.

Roger Severino, with the HHS Office of Civil Rights responded to the critics by stating to CNBC:
“The rule provides enforcement tools to federal conscience protections that have been on the books for decades,”

“The rule does not create new substantive rights.”

“We have not seen the hypotheticals that some have used to criticize the rule actually develop in real life. Faith-based providers just like all providers should be allowed to serve those most in need without fear of being pushed out of the health care system because of their beliefs, including declining to participate in the taking of human life.”
In March, a bill was introduced to legalize assisted suicide in Minnesota that requires physicians to refer for assisted suicide. Physicians who oppose assisted suicide should never be forced to refer.

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak at a parliamentary gathering in Ottawa on David Anderson's Conscience rights legislation (Bill C-418). Other than Manitoba, in Canada physicians conscience rights are not being respected.

Conscience rights are fundamental human rights that enable medical professionals to work as equal citizens while protecting the rights of patients who seek a physician who shares their values.

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