A screenshot from the Christian Medical and Dental Society website. The society is the first group to legally challenge the Ontario college of physicians and surgeon’s new policy which requires doctors with moral objections to refer for services like abortion and contraception. Photo from www.cmdscanada.org

Doctors group going to court to assert conscience rights

  • March 23, 2015

The first legal challenge to a policy that would force Ontario doctors to refer for abortions against their conscience has been announced by the Christian Medical and Dental Society.

“I, and all physicians in Ontario, have the right to practice medicine according to my conscience and free from state compulsion,” said Dr. Michelle Korvemaker in a Mar. 23 release.

Korvermaker, an emergency room physician in Woodstock, Ont., along with CMDS president Dr. Diane Haak and CMDS executive director Larry Worthen claim to have filed papers asking a court to rule that the new Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons policy requiring an “effective referral” from doctors who object for religious or moral reasons to any legally available treatment or procedure violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The application to the court is supported by the Canadian Federation of Catholic Physician’s Societies.

The CMDS claims to represent 1,600 physicians and dentists across Canada.

By a vote of 21-3, the OCPS passed a new policy on March 6 which would require doctors with moral objections to refer for abortion, contraception and other controversial procedures.  The college claimed its new policy would balance the competing rights of doctors who object to abortion for ethical or religious reasons with the right of patients to access a legal procedure.

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