• John G. Stackhouse, Jr.

Will Canadian Christians Have to Stop Practicing Medicine?

I admit that the title of this column seems clickbait-y. But it is among the serious questions being asked in the wake of the recent decision by the Ontario Divisional Court in the case Christian Medical and Dental Society et al v. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

The Christian Medical and Dental Society, along with a number of other groups, pushed back against the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for requiring physicians who would not participate in an assisted death to refer patients to physicians who were willing to comply. The Court concluded that while, yes, the rights of objecting physicians were being compromised, the greater good of patients’ rights to obtain a legal remedy outweighed the conscience rights of those physicians.

The John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family makes the Roman Catholic position on the matter starkly clear:

“Seeking to impose on a doctor the duty to perform abortions or euthanasia (or, alternatively, to leave the medical profession or a given hospital), or to impose on him the duty to refer a woman to an abortionist, is gravely sinful and a direct violation of his inalienable human dignity and freedom of conscience.”

“The same also applies to the case where a pro-life physician is claimed to be obliged to refer a patient (who requests physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia) to a colleague who would perform such acts.  Not only is the pro-life physician not obliged to refer a patient to a colleague who would perform intrinsically wrong acts, he is also absolutely morally forbidden to do so.”

One grim conclusion to be drawn from this line of ethical reasoning therefore would be that a Christian person would have to withdraw from the practice of medicine in Ontario, or avoid the profession in the first place, on pain of committing a serious moral transgression.

But is this the only Christian possibility?

[For the rest, please click HERE.]