Pro-lifers will monitor the course of a private member’s bill in the Ontario Legislature, which would protect the right of health care workers to refuse to participate in practices they find morally objectionable.

An act to protect the consciences of health care workers is expected to be introduced in the Legislature in the near future.

According to Progressive Conservative MPP Jim Brown (Scarborough West), there is a serious need for leglislation to stop workers from being coerced into providing any type of service that violates their religious or moral convictions.

A Coalition for Conscience has been busy lobbying provincial politicians on the need for such legislation. The coalition has also circulated a petition which has generated significant support.

The issue came to a head in 1994 when eight nurses from Marhkam Stouffville Hospital were dismissed because they refused to sign a statement agreeing to participate in abortions through the obstetrical department.

Health care workers in other Ontario hospitals have faced similar disciplinary action for objecting to abortion and other morally offensive practices.

According to the coalition, most American states have enacted conscience legislation. Coalition members say such legislation is long overdue in Canada.

“Advances in medical technology are raising new ethical problems, especially in areas involving end-of-life decisions,” the coalition said in a statement.