The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons has rewritten its guidelines covering the standard of care that doctors must provide. Most of the changes are unremarkable, but some doctors and members of the general public are balking at proposed changes that essentially ask physicians to set aside their moral beliefs, conscience objections and medical opinions to ensure women have unfettered access to abortion.Those who support the initiative, claim this is about providing access to "reproductive health" - even though elective injurious procedure like abortion could hardly be considered healthcare, let alone - reproductive. Not to mention that forcing pro-life doctors to choose between going against their conscience and leaving the profession altogether is obviously not going to improve the quality of our healthcare.
The proposed changes are being debated this week and, if accepted as drafted, doctors who oppose abortion (for whatever reason) will no longer have the option of refusing to assist a woman requesting abortion.
As patients, we should be equally concerned that the body regulating medical practices in Alberta is willing to force its doctors to make medical decisions based on policy instead of their own medical assessment of the situation. (Think of how we would react to this idea if the medical procedure was anything but abortion.)
Some doctors rightly reject abortion as a necessary medical procedure because they are concerned about its medical and psychological impact. Decades of research on a woman's mental and physical health after an abortion reveals a whole new set of realities that have the capacity to bring harm to the patient. Consequently, it shouldn't be wrong to give these concerns greater consideration than her potential inconvenience or even her 'right' to choose.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Yet another health regulatory body moves to take away doctors' freedom of conscience: