Reform MP Maurice Vellacott is the House of Commons’s answer to the now-retired Senator Stanley Haidasz.
Pro-lifers have been trying for years to gain protection against workplace discrimination for health care workers, particularly nurses, who refuse to take part in abortions and other unethical practises. Health care practitioners usually fear going public with their stories for fear of more persecution, but pro-life groups like Nurses for Life and Campaign Life Coalition have been documenting such cases for years.
Last year Senator Haidasz introduced a bill (S-7) to address this problem. Unfortunately, it was introduced just prior to the senator’s retirement, and has since gone dormant.
Last December, however, Mr. Vellacott introduced a similar bill (C-461) in the House of Commons, and he is currently trying to build support for it before his name gets drawn for private members’ business. Under new rules governing private members’ business, he could have the bill debated automatically if 100 colleagues sign on.
Since the bill appeals to freedom of conscience and religion, and not just to specific controversial issues, supporters hope that it will draw support from a wide base of MPs.
Pro-life groups are urging members to contact their MPs to draw their attention to this “conscience clause” legislation, and to encourage them to contact Mr. Vellacott and sign onto his bill. CLC recommends pro-lifers call Mr. Vellacott’s office if their MPs seem supportive, so he can follow up.
The bill would make it an offence for an employer to fire or threaten to fire a health care worker, and to refuse to promote a health care worker, “because the health care practitioner is, or is believed to be, unwilling to take part in or counsel for any medical procedure that offends a tenet of the practitioner’s religion, or the belief of the practitioner that human life is inviolable.”