Support Doctors' Freedom of Conscience and Religion
To: The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
Re: Review and Public Consultation of the Policy
Guidelines “Physicians and the Ontario Human Right’s Code”
In light of public debate regarding physicians’ rights to freedom of conscience and religion, we the undersigned, urge the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) to uphold policy guidelines that respect the freedom of physicians to practice their profession in a manner that does not violate their conscience or moral and ethical beliefs.
Forcing physicians to disregard their conscience or moral and ethical beliefs in the provision of legally sanctioned non-emergency medical services has serious and far-reaching consequences that affect the integrity and practice of medicine. Cultivating a medical culture that encourages physicians to disregard their conscience by forcing them to do what they believe to be wrong or harmful has the potential to compromise the well-being of patients, physicians, and society.
Freedom of conscience and religion are fundamental freedoms in Canada under Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A policy that restricts the freedom of physicians to practice their profession in a manner consistent with their conscience or moral and ethical beliefs infringes upon these Charter rights. We urge the CPSO to defend these fundamental freedoms that are essential to the proper functioning of a free and democratic society and hope that the CPSO will uphold the rights of physicians to practice their profession without compromising their integrity, conscience and moral or ethical values.