Dr. Martin Owen, a Calgary family doctor, has taken on the task of rousing his fellow practitioners to the danger posed to their integrity by policies being pushed by professional regulators in several provinces.The campaign, called Freedom of Conscience is backed by Campaign Life, evangelical church groups, and the Christian Heritage Party.
“My conscience is on the line,” Owen said in a chain e-letter. “If I lived in Ontario, I'd probably move my 7 children to another province so I could avoid the tyranny over my professional medical judgment and my conscience.”
Appalled by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons’ new requirement for all doctors, regardless of moral objections, to do or refer abortions, Owen has launched a website, freedomofconscience.ca, with Ezra Levant just before the latter’s Sun News Network folded, and sent chain e-letters to colleagues asking them to vote in a “poorly worded” CBC poll about the issue. And as with a chain letter, he has asked his recipients to pass his message on to 10 colleagues.
“The time has come when doctors now need to fight for the right not to perform abortions, prescribe birth control, or refer patients for controversial procedures,” the email stated.
Beyond the clip at the site from Sun News (Feb. 4, 2015), it is not clear that Ezra Levant has any ongoing association with it.
I was curious about this Martin Owen, so looked him up on LinkedIn. Here's his summary.
Firstly, to be a witness to the transforming love of Jesus Christ in my marriage, fatherhood and medical practice. Secondly, to promote the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death by opening my self to be an instrument of Christ's healing power in the world. Thirdly, to bring unity to the international natural family planning community through education and healing of the past wounds, so as to be a sign to the world of Christ's promise to unite His flock.
That's not bad for a summary. Anyone want to help?
Owen is listed at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), as "postgraduate trainee" from July 2010 to July 2012, and as "general registry" since August 2012. He claims also to be a member of College of Physicians & Surgeons of Ontario, but I couldn't find him in its registry.
So, he seems to be a relatively new doctor, though with seven children [!].
Things got quite a bit more interesting when I went looking for him on Twitter.
I found this fella.
Martin Owen is not a terribly unusual name, but the initial "G." corresponds to his CPSA listing. Also, how many medical doctors in Calgary named Martin Owen have seven children?
I've asked DocVemma twice if he is the same person associated with Freedom of Conscience and have had no response.
The Twitter profile page lists a website and, of course, people he's following. I scanned those 122 people.
There are body building and weight loss products, entrepreneurs for same and entrepreneurs in general, plus Dr. Oz, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates. There are a few Christian and Catholic organizations and groups too.
Quite heavily weighted towards entrepreneurial pursuits of the health sort.
Lots of "Vemma" related accounts.
What is this Vemma the good doc is promoting so hard?
It is a nutrition company that sells "insanely healthy energy drinks" and weight-loss products through a pyramid scheme.
Vemma (/ˈviːmə/) Nutrition Company is a privately held multi-level marketing company that sells energy drinks, nutritional beverages and weight management products. The company, based in Tempe, Arizona, was founded in 2004 by Benson K., Lauren, and Karen Boreyko. In 2013, the company reported US$221 million in revenue. Most distributors are in their twenties. The company has been accused of being a pyramid scheme by U.S. media, business analysts, and former distributors, and was fined by the Italian government.
Some more about the company and its practices.
I don't doubt Owen's sincerity in objecting to "tyrannical" demands that he actually, you know, respect his patients' rights.
But I do doubt his judgement in getting involved in a pyramid scheme selling "nutritional" products. I wonder how hard he promotes these to his patients.
Previous DJ! posts on patient rights.
The CPSO consultation.
Christian Medical and Dental Society launches suit.
Meet a Christian OB/GYN.
UPDATE (April 3/15): Joyce Arthur at Rabble, "Christian doctors angry they can no longer abandon their patients."