Conscientious objection

* In Canada shortly after the legalisation of euthanasia, by the Supreme Court we hear news that medical practitioners opposed to euthanasia are to be required to refer patients for euthanasia and that all hospitals are to be forced to allow euthanasia including those strongly opposed. Both the Canadian and the South African euthanasia lobby have supported this.

* In the article below the Catholic Church threatens to close hospitals in Columbia if they are forced to do euthanasia

* The SA government promised to protect the conscientious objection rights for doctors on abortion and promptly broke those promises one year later, by making regulations requiring conscientious objecting doctors to refer to another doctor to perform. There is no reason we should trust them any more with euthanasia. Likely we would win any case that was pursued, but few doctors have the energy to pursue a lawsuit over 6 months or years to win. One who did was Faan Oosthuizen in Bloemfontein.

* In South Africa conscientious objection is being violated on abortion.

* Doctors have the risk of the law being turned upside down as it has with wrongful birth suits with abortion. The legalisation of euthanasia could switch the onus around.

* We have one case precedent in South Africa where a nurse was tricked into participating in euthanasia against her consent. (Hartmann) Thankfully the doctor lost his licence to practice medicine. If legalised, there will likely be more such cases as there have been with abortion.

Philip Rosenthal