Representing 2400 physicians nationwide, Canadian Physicians for Life, presented their demands at a press conference on Marcy 9. The doctors were responding to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision of January 28 and the B.C. Supreme Court decision upholding that province’s funding of abortions.
For centuries, new doctors have pledged not to willfully take the life of a pre-born infant. This pledge – the Hippocratic Oath – must be restored as the universal oath for doctors in Canada, say Physicians for Life.
Health care workers are now required to assist with abortions (or abortion-related practices) against their consciences. The pro-life doctor’s group wants legislation which will guarantee freedom of conscience for the workers who now risk losing their jobs if they refuse to assist with abortions.
The provinces, said the doctors, must cease paying for abortions through their medical insurance plans. Why? “In 1988,” said Dr. Michael Barry, chief of psychiatry at Etobicoke General Hospital, “there’s no medical justification for abortion.” Radiologist Dr. John B. Shea seconded him. Abortion is “not treatment, but abuse,” not only of the pre-born child but of the mother as well.
A large but unsympathetic crowd of reporters returned again and again to the same question, were there no reasons of health to justify procured abortions? Perhaps enquired one reporter, an ectopic pregnancy, where the embryo is lodged in the Fallopian tube of the mother, is a valid health reason for abortion! If not this health reason, why not any other!
This faulty reasoning provoked gynecologists, Dr. Dennis Xuereb, to point out that an ectopic pregnancy cannot ever result in a normal birth, but that if left untreated, will result in the death of the mother. The doctor is obliged to operate not to procure the death of a healthy child, but to save the mother’s life. A healthy pregnancy never endangers a mother’s life, concluded Dr. Xuereb, and he had never seen a medical case for procured abortion.
In existence for more than a decade, Canadian Physicians for Life, upholds the long medical tradition of respect for all human life. It deplores the abandonment of this tradition by the leadership of the Canadian Medical Association.
In a press statement read at the press conference, Dr. Colin Merry, President and Dr. Carmelo Scime, Past-President of Canadian Physicians for Life rejected the decision of the Supreme Court. “By this one decision, the doctors said, “the Justices struck a blow against” the un-born child, the pregnant mother, the family and democracy itself. Human beings, whatever their stage of development, have certain inalienable rights – “the right to be born, the right to love, and the right to grow old,” they asserted.
“The medical profession,” concluded doctors Merry and Scime, is being bloodied by the blood of abortion.” To restore credibility and dignity to their profession, physicians must “take leadership for the protection of the pre-term, most defenseless members of society, as well as the mother, who also suffers in an abortion.”
A statement of the Toronto Catholic Doctors Guild, signed by doctors Arthur Dunn ad John B. Shea was also made public.
From conception to death “the human being is at all times a human person.” Age or illness in no way diminishes “the humanity or personal value of the human being.”
The Toronto Catholic Doctors Guild brought its statement to a close with a ringing call for justice for the unborn:
“The State must respect the truth in the enactment of laws. The State must also protect the innocent. If it fails so to act, it loses its moral right to respect and obedience, and such laws become a crime against humanity.