FOM:ACTION ALERT: PROTECTING, UPHOLDING & RESPECTING ALBERTANS’ RIGHTS TO ACCESS LEGAL HEALTH SERVICES

Time Range for Action Alert: November 8, 2019 to November 18, 2019

On November 7th, 2019, Peace River MLA Dan Williams introduced Bill 207: Conscience Rights (Health Care Providers) Protection Act. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms already protects doctors and health care providers’ ability to refuse to provide health services or procedures to which they morally object. If passed, Bill 207 would allow health providers to refuse to even refer patients to an alternate health provider.

This bill is a veiled political attack on Albertans’ right to access legal health care services. It is a political attack on reproductive rights that threatens women’s health, autonomy and rights, including the right to abortion which has been legal in Canada since 1988. It is a political attack on Albertans accessing medical assistance in dying (MAID), and a political attack on the LGBTQ2S+ community’s timely access to health care.

This government’s attempt at creating a new law that would allow doctors and nurses to refuse to take part in legal health care services on moral grounds is unconscionable. It will ultimately only serve to hinder Albertans ability to access safe and legal health services. If passed, Bill 207 will create major delays and barriers to people accessing medically necessary services in a province where access is already very difficult. All people have the proactive right to equal access to abortion and other legal health care services. Any province that passes legislation such as Bill 207 would be in violation of the Canada Health Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human right laws.

Bill 207 passed first reading and it was referred to the Standing Committee on Private Bills and Private Members Public Bills. This committee has been tasked to determine which bills presented by private members will proceed forward, and they decide if this bill has the merits to proceed for fulsome debate in the legislature.

We are asking for your help in letting the members of this committee know that this bill needs to be voted down at committee level. We need to remind them that they have an ethical responsibility to uphold sexual and reproductive health and rights in Alberta, and a legal responsibility to ensure access to health services for all Albertans. We cannot allow dogma and ideology to determine what health services Albertans can and cannot receive.

Contact the members of the committee: call their offices, email them, Tweet at them, and let your voices be heard. They will be meeting on November 18th to discuss Bill 207, and they need to know that this is an important issue to Albertans, and that we are ready to stand up for the rights of ALL Albertans to have equal access to health care. 

For a full list of committee members and their contact information, click here.