By Interim StaffA medical student in his last year at the University of Manitoba Medical School will be denied his degree, because of his unwillingness to partake in any abortion-related activities.

The Christian student, who wishes to remain unnamed, received a failing grade in the obstetrics and gynecology portion of his program, for refusing to perform or refer for any abortive procedure. Three separate appeals to the medical school all failed to correct the matter. The failing grade was first challenged on Oct. 31, 2003 and two subsequent appeals to the medical school also failed to reverse it. The last challenge was made on March 3, when the student appeared before the highest-level appeal committee within the Faculty of Medicine. The student learned of the rejection of his latest plea on March 12. He is now considering his next move.

A spokesman for the student’s family, Carolee Neufeld, said the student was failed despite the fact that he had high grades in every area of study and strong words of affirmation from clinical supervisors.

Dr. Brian Magwood, associate dean at the Faculty of Medicine, told CJOB News Radio in Winnipeg that university policy states students are obligated to tell patients about “all treatment options” that fall within “the medical standard” of care. But one of several doctors supporting the student, Winnipeg physician Dr. Frederick Ross, told CJOB that most doctors swear to protect human life “from the moment of conception” when they take the Hippocratic Oath. Ross called on the University of Manitoba to respect the conscience rights of their students.

Today’s Family News, an internet-based news service of Focus on the Family, reported that, “This student is clearly not alone within the medical profession in his aversion to abortion.” It noted a Canadian Abortion Rights Action League survey from 2003 of 692 hospitals that found an increasing number of hospitals are refusing to do abortions “because the provider had retired and there were no young doctors available and willing to take his or her place.”