Saturday, June 28, 2014

Calgary Doctor Refuses to be a Doctor

So, lemme get this straight. Today in the Calgary Herald, there was an article about a doctor, Chantal Barry at a walk in clinic (Westglen Medical Center) who refuses to give prescriptions for birth control based on her "beliefs" and "morals" whatever they happen to be. Apparently, these beliefs and morals don't include the idea that the law of Canada allows people to have these things to, you know, prevent people who don't wish to get pregnant from getting pregnant. Of course, not having birth control will prevent people from having sex and everything will be fine. Oh, right, it won't, because then people will have sex, have unwanted pregnancies and then some of those people will wish abortions, which I am sure she is even more against. So, basically, I'm thinking, she is going with an abstinence angle here, despite the fact that we are humans and humans have sex because, it's a human thing to do....much like all animals. Maybe she also doesn't believe we are animals? Who knows. Regardless, she has her "morals" and "beliefs" preventing potential patients from getting perfectly legal birth control pills from her. Seems to me that refusal of medical services should not be allowed in Canada, or, anywhere for that matter, if the service is perfectly legal!!

However, despite the law allowing for people to have birth control, apparently, the law also allows physicians to refuse treatment to people based on their RELIGIOUS beliefs. Wait....WHAT?? Now, the law apparently also says there has to be timely alternatives made or given, specifically making sure someone else can attend to the patients LAWFUL needs in a timely fashion. That's easier said than done in Canada where, although we have a great health care system that I fully support, we have a definite doctor shortage, and thousands upon thousands of people don't have family doctors and rely on walk in clinics. Choice is limited. So a doctor picking and choosing what they will or will not prescribe based on religious beliefs puts many people in a tough spot.

How far can this spread? Is it possible that one day I could end up in an emergency room somewhere needing a blood transfusion and the only doctor on at that time is against blood transfusions because of his religious beliefs? If so, what happens to me? My life is in the hands of someone whose religious beliefs dictates the type of care he will give me, as opposed to the fact there is nothing illegal about this care being done and should be done, like, quick, before I bleed to death? I'm sure this will never happen, but clearly if the law states that people can refuse certain tasks based on their religious beliefs, it technically could happen. No? Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe someone more in the know could explain to me how I am wrong. Maybe?

Here, yet again, we have religious beliefs interfering with the rights and needs of others. Just like opposition to LGBT rights, or other forms of reproductive care, to beliefs where women and men should not work side by side, to whatever other holy rolling beliefs people hold. Here, we have a woman who has decided that because of her beliefs, others must live by her beliefs and screw what is best for patience or what is lawful in Canada. And in doing so, she is putting people in a compromising position, especially if she is one of the few access points to health care some people might have. To me, THIS is immoral.

How on EARTH can this be allowed to happen. If Chantal Barry has an issue with birth control then it is her problem. She doesn't have to use it. But, why should people she treats also have to live by these beliefs?? And how can Canadian laws allow this to happen? If the pill is legal, than it seems to me that no doctor has the right to deny a patient the pill unless their is a concerning health reason that should prevent someone from using it. It's time to start giving religion a free pass here. It's time to stop allowing discrimination based on religious beliefs. We still have a culture of religious exceptionalism where as long as someone has a belief related to some religion, they get to practice that belief over the rights of other human beings. How can this be? Apparently it is. But it's time to stop it, immediately so we NEVER see signs like this again at any health facility in Canada ever, ever, ever again.


  1. Doctor refuses to be a doctor? Did you ask her why she doesn't prescribe synthetic hormone as a form of birth control? Why does it offend you that a doctor would put a sign up to let her potential patients know? Do you think it is your right to force a practitioner to prescribe any medication or just your birth control? It looks like you are jumping to a lot of conclusions. If Dr. Barry chooses not to, that is her prerogative. You can say it's immoral all you like, and you are entitled to do so, but Dr. Barry may also feel it is immoral for her to prescribe these drugs so freely as most doctors do. Purhaps you should visit those practitioners that freely dispense the drugs you need for your lifestyle?

    1. "lifestyle"? That's an odd choice of words. Where does this line end. Would a doctor who is a Jehovah's Witness who doesn't believe in blood transfusion freely be able to tell patients she won't save their lives because she doesn't believe in blood transfusions?