The Canadian Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is urging Catholics to “speak up” as the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons reviews is policy on conscience rights. CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec

COLF urges Catholics to speak up for physicians' conscience rights

  • July 28, 2014

OTTAWA - The Canadian Organization for Life and Family (COLF) is urging Catholics to “speak up” as the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons reviews is policy on conscience rights.

“In 2008, a similar policy review by the College very nearly resulted in a serious threat to conscience rights within the practice of medicine in Ontario,” COLF warned. Public input has been welcomed, COLF said, encouraging people insist the college protect conscience rights.

“No physician should be forced to act against his or her conscience by providing health care services (for example: contraception, abortion, sterilization, etc.) contrary to their moral and religious beliefs,” COLF said.

COLF urged Catholics to respond to the college before the Aug. 5 deadline at

In its public intervention, COLF stressed freedom of conscience and religion as “first among the rights recognized and guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

“These rights, inalienable and universal, derive from the unique dignity of the human person and constitute the bedrock on which all other human rights rest, the foundation of a truly free society,” COLF said.

COLF challenged the view physicians should be compelled to provide medical services they find repugnant in order to ensure equal access to services covered under the health care system.

The right to conscientious objection is found not only in the Charter but also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, COLF said. Rights to freedom of conscience and religion “trump any perceived ‘right’ to particular medical services.”

“The human person must always obey the certain judgment of his or her conscience,” COLF wrote. “Nevertheless, with the right to have one’s conscience respected comes the responsibility to embrace formation of conscience as a life-long task.

“Simply put, the well-formed and functioning conscience is the ground of all good judgment,” COLF said.

COLF warned stripping physicians of conscience rights would make it easier for government bureaucracies to impose cost-efficiency measures in the event euthanasia is legalized.

“Given the aging of the Canadian population and the consequent strain on the health system, it is not out of the question that such a scenario could play out in the not-so-distant future.”

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