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Some UCP MLAs oppose conscience rights bill

Last Updated Nov 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm MDT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Two Calgary area MLAs say they don’t support the doctor conscience bill proposed in the legislature.

Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer and Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie both indicated they would not be supporting Bill 207.

The Bill, introduced by Peace River MLA Dan Williams would prohibit a doctor from being sued or sanctioned for refusing to provide a service — such as abortion, assisted dying, or contraception — that goes against their moral beliefs.

Right now doctors have to provide a referral for any procedure they are not comfortable performing.

Guthrie wrote an op-ed for the news website Cochrane Now where he called the bill more red tape.

He said people already have the freedom of conscience and freedom of religion and the bill is not necessary.

The rebukes come after dozens protested the bill in front of the legislature Saturday.

Speakers with advocacy groups said residents of small communities already have a hard time getting access and advice on issues like abortions or assisted dying.

Premier Jason Kenney said there will be a free vote on the bill.

“We’ll leave it to MLAs to make a decision. I would just say, as a matter of principle, I’ve always been and I would hope everybody respects the constitutionally protected freedom of conscience.”


With files from The Canadian Press