Upon successfully completing their basic training, and before they take on the years of residency that will allow them to practice their science, skills and craft in a medical specialty of their choice, medical students pledge to the principals of the Hippocratic Oath*.
In Ontario, the specific application of that pledge came under scrutiny in the last year with regard to women's reproductive health rights. In its modern form, the Oath is centred upon patient care. "... Above all, I must not play at God."
DJ! has been covering this issue from the outset, here, and here.
Ontario’s new policy is unlikely to put the discussion to rest, said Carolyn McLeod, professor of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Patients, particularly women, will undoubtedly find it troubling if a doctor refuses their request for birth control. Doctors who object to abortion might feel uncomfortable or complicit providing patients with a referral, but setting out a clearer policy could help connect patients to care providers who can best serve their needs, Prof. McLeod said.
“To receive abortion care from somebody who is morally opposed to abortion, I think, is harmful,” she said. “I think for patients’ sake, if for no one else’s, there should be the ability for the provider to give the referral.”
Ontario’s new policy has not yet been finalized and could still be changed, depending on what the college hears during the feedback period.
Marc Gabel, former president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, said doctors could face disciplinary action if they do not comply with the new guidelines and cannot use unfounded medical reasons to withhold birth control, abortions, vasectomies, blood transfusions or other treatments.
“What we’re trying to do, I think, is set a tone to remind physicians and the public we will act professionally in ensuring their access to care and their safety,” Dr. Gabel said.
This vivid graphic
accompanied anti-Choice Pro-lies groups spin on the 'debate'. This is their response to regulatory bodies reminding anti-Choice physicians of their professional obligations, responsibilities and duties.
No matter how the fetushists and their acolytes spin their concerns, the basis for their shrieking is fundamentally religious. Yes, a professional can abstain from engaging in activities that compromise her/his beliefs. There are nonetheless job requirements that require that she/he assist a patient in finding a practitioner who will care for, and address the needs of that patient in a timely manner.
If Gawd-worshippy physicians won't do this, let them move on to a medical specialty or a practice where they won't be tempted to play at being Gawd.
*In my research, I came across this interesting opinion piece about the Oath. There's a relevant point about abortion.