The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, feeling the heat, has decided to revisit its policy on human rights and is inviting public input.
The site says the questionnaire will take only a few minutes and it does, but first you should read the existing policy.
It's not all bad but does provide some pretty wide wiggle-room for anti-choicers.
After citing some "general principles" from the Ontario Human Rights Codes, all good in my opinion, the policy offers this (bold mine).
College ExpectationsOK, what's with the namby-pambyness? "In some circumstances"? Should be "in ALL CIRCUMSTANCES refer a patient to a practitioner whom the referrer KNOWS will provide the needed service." They can't get away with waving their hands and saying, "See someone else."
The College has its own expectations for physicians who limit their practice, refuse to accept individuals as patients, or end a physician-patient relationship on the basis of moral or religious belief.
In these situations, the College expects physicians to do the following:
Communicate clearly and promptly about any treatments or procedures the physician chooses not to provide because of his or her moral or religious beliefs.
Provide information about all clinical options that may be available or appropriate based on the patient’s clinical needs or concerns. Physicians must not withhold information about the existence of a procedure or treatment because providing that procedure or giving advice about it conflicts with their religious or moral beliefs.
Treat patients or individuals who wish to become patients with respect when they are seeking or requiring the treatment or procedure. This means that physicians should not express personal judgments about the beliefs, lifestyle, identity or characteristics of a patient or an individual who wishes to become a patient. This also means that physicians should not promote their own religious beliefs when interacting with patients, nor should they seek to convert existing patients or individuals who wish to become patients to their own religion.
Advise patients or individuals who wish to become patients that they can see another physician with whom they can discuss their situation and in some circumstances, help the patient or individual make arrangements to do so.
The situation is particularly problematic in under-served areas. What if there is only one OB-GYN for a large area and he or she refuses to prescribe contraception (or some forms of it), insert IUDs, or perform abortions?
What if one or more of a small number of GPs for a region refuses to prescribe birth control or refer for abortion?
How far do they expect women to travel to get basic everyday healthcare?
I don't know how it could be implemented, but the special circumstances of under-served areas require some creative thinking on the part of the College.
In any event, referrals must be mandatory. No exceptions.
We'll say it again. Women's rights and women's healthcare are NOT fucking conscience issues.
Public Service Section
Here's the survey. If you have a few minutes and care about this issue, please give them your thoughts.
Also on its invitation page is a quick poll, one question.
Do you think a physician should be allowed to refuse to provide a patient with a treatment or procedure because it conflicts with the physician’s religious or moral beliefs?
Yes or No.
Currently there are 1090 votes, 984 of which say religion trumps patient care. That's 90%. And that's hard to believe.
LifeShite is directing readers to the survey and quick poll. Gee, do you think they're freeping it?
Since we know most casual, i.e. non-frothing, fetus fetishists have the attention span of a gnat, that's probably as much as they're going to do.
So, certainly answer the one quick question, but if you can take the time, please do the survey.
ADDED: There's also a discussion board. Some interesting stuff there, but lots of whinging from the usual suspects.