We expect conservative Christian doctors in the U.S. to prioritize their religious beliefs over the needs of their patients. And we certainly don’t expect Canada to take any lessons about health care from us… but that’s what Chantal Barry of Westglen Medical Centre in Calgary seems to have done.
When Joan Chand’oiseau visited a walk-in clinic and saw this sign, she was rightfully outraged:
“Please be informed that the physician on duty today WILL NOT prescribe the Birth Control Pill. Thank you.”
Anyone who needed the pill was given a list of other clinics in the region that could give it to them. Why Barry’s relationship with Jesus matters more than her professional obligations is something her employers should be concerned about. But there is a loophole in the system that lets her get away with it:
Under the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta’s policy on Moral or Religious Beliefs Affecting Medical Care, doctors can refuse to provide medical services, but must ensure the patient is offered timely access to those services from another practitioner.
Trevor Theman, registrar with the CPSA, said the policy does not require Westglen to have a doctor on hand who can prescribe the pill.
“In an ideal world, women who need birth control or are seeking birth control will have a regular doctor and won’t just be dropping into a walk-in clinic to get a prescription for birth control pills.”
In fact, one in five Calgarians – 200,000 people — is without a family doctor and rely on walk-in clinics to serve their medical needs.
The CPSA needs to strengthen their policy before more women are left without immediate help due to doctors who refuse to do their jobs.
Keep in mind that most birth control pills are not abortion pills. By lumping them all together, Barry suffers from both a lack of empathy and a lack of scientific knowledge, a combination that makes her selfish and incompetent. At the very least, her employers should keep someone on staff who can do the job properly when Barry’s on duty since she’s incapable of doing it on her own. Why she should be allowed to keep her license is beyond me.
It’s irrelevant that a doctor who can fulfill the prescription may be at a nearby clinic. The fact that patients can’t get medicine they need because the doctor on duty doesn’t feel like giving it to them is absurd. It’s like going to McDonald’s and ordering a Big Mac, only to have the sole person working the register refuse to ring it up because he’s vegetarian.
(Thanks to Lorne for the link)