Here’s the story: The Canadian Charter (Constitution) guarantees “freedom of conscience and religion” — a stronger and more explicit protection of religious liberty than our First Amendment. After the Supreme Court created a right to euthanasia, Ontario passed a law requiring doctors to kill legally eligible patients who want to die or provide an “effective referral” if they have moral objections — i.e., procure a doctor known by the dissenter to be willing to euthanize patients. Catholic and other religious doctors sued to enforce their Charter liberties. Referring equals complicity, the doctors argued, and thus the law forces them to violate their religious beliefs and consciences. In one of the world’s most important “medical conscience” rulings, a trial judge admitted the doctors’ Charter rights were indeed infringed. But he ruled that a right (nowhere mentioned in the Charter) to “equal and equitable access” to legal and government-funded medical interventions trumped doctors’ freedom of religion. Now a Court of Appeals has affirmed, ruling that doctors must not only euthanize or refer, but also abort or refer, and provide any other controversial legal service that a patient might want or refer — their religious freedoms or moral consciences be damned.

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