Ontario conscience debate is about forcing out Catholic doctors

July 25, 2014

By Lea Z. Singh |

Let’s be honest: The current pressure on the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to change their human rights guidelines is all about forcing faithful Catholics out of the public square.

The media debate has focused on three Ottawa doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control pills, and guess what? All three of these doctors happen to be Catholic. The media hasn't mentioned this fact, but there it is. Is it really surprising? Who else other than Catholics would refuse these days, on grounds of conscience or religious freedom, to prescribe birth control pills?

The Catholic Church consistently teaches that birth control pills (and other artificial birth control methods, including vasectomies) are morally wrong. Still, just a very small minority of Catholic doctors follow their faith to the extent of limiting their medical practice. For instance in Ottawa, a city with 870,000 inhabitants and hundreds of doctors, the media has reported only three such needles in the haystack.

This paltry handful of doctors is now being presented as a burning impediment to the delivery of adequate health care in Ontario. It is now apparently necessary to clamp down and force these religiously faithful doctors to violate their deepest beliefs. Many people want the College to require all doctors to prescribe and refer for any treatments, regardless of their personal ethical or religious convictions.

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