Time for God

2012.05.20cI wrote a short Lenten reflection on the Gospel for today (John 2:13-25) for Mike at I Am Third. Head over there for a short time of prayer for Lent today! Mike is offering a great daily source of prayer on his website for Lent – be sure to take advantage of it!

The readings for today can be found at the USCCB website.

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Doctor’s Right to Conscientious Objection

Here is my letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan regarding their draft policy that would eliminate doctor’s right to conscientious objection. Thanks to the Saskatchewan Pro-Life Association for their draft letters they provided to help with responding to this catastrophe in medical ethics.

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College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan

500-321A-21st Street East

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

S7K 0C1

Dear Members of the Consultations Committee:

Subject: Draft Policy “Conscientious Refusal”. 

I am writing to you with grave concern regarding the content of your proposed draft policy. The proposed draft suggests that physicians who decline to participate in certain acts for reasons of conscience should be compelled to refer their patients to other physicians who will perform these acts. It does not address the fact that many of these same physicians will find the act of referral itself objectionable, as they consider it material cooperation with the act. If the College does not fully understand what ‘material cooperation with the act’ is and its consequences, I suggest doing broad-based consulting with people who are well-versed in morality and ethics before approving this draft. In compelling physicians to refer, you are limiting their right to conscientious objection.

There is significant disagreement in our society as to what constitutes a moral act, and I do not expect the College to define or limit morality. All I expect is that physicians, as professionals, be allowed to respect their own consciences. Freedom of conscience is foundational to our free society and cannot be limited, even for the best of intentions. If we coerce physicians into violating their consciences we will inevitably erode the personal integrity which is the basis of the physician’s relationship with their patients.

It is my understanding that American Medical Association recently responded to the Ontario draft that is remarkably similar to the Saskatchewan one. You can find their response here: http://policyconsult.cpso.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CEJA-to-CPSO_Redacted.pdf

I quote (from the document above) and support their analysis of the draft, which is directly related to the proposed draft I am responding about:

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The College’s draft policy provides that, when a physician is “unwilling to provide certain elements of care on moral or religious grounds,” the physician must provide “an effective referral” to “a nonobjecting, available, and accessible physician or other health care provider.”

This seems to us to overstate a duty to refer, risk making the physician morally complicit in violation of deeply held personal beliefs, and falls short of according appropriate respect to the physician as a moral agent. On our view, a somewhat less stringent formulation of a duty to refer better serves the goals of non-abandonment, continuity of care, and respect for physicians’ moral agency. The council concluded that:

In general, physicians should refer a patient to another physician or institution to provide treatment the physician declines to offer. When a deeply held, well-considered personal belief leads a physician also to decline to refer, the physician should offer impartial guidance to patients about how to inform themselves regarding access to desired services.
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Perhaps this has escaped the College’s notice, but I would also like to draw their attention to Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Were one to glance over it one would notice that there are listed 4 fundamental freedoms that come before all others. The first of these freedoms is freedom of conscience and religion. It does not say “freedom of conscience and religion, except for the medical profession.” The College is informed by and obligated to our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and would do well to not contend with eliminating conscientious freedom in their policy. I do not support a system that forces its own moral agenda onto the profession of medics – it is completely un-Canadian to do so and such policies do not belong in this free country.

I encourage you to revise the sections above, and include a clear defense of the right to freedom of conscience for all physicians.

Respectfully,

Jane Korvemaker

Cc: Premier Brad Wall

Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Health

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I hope that, if you live in Saskatchewan, you’ve had a chance to respond to this yourself. This is a chance for us to make a difference – make your voice be heard! Today is the last day they will accept feedback on this document. Please pray that they will listen to rightful opposition and heed the recommendations!

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As a Woman

My Lenten reading consists of one book that I’m hopeful I will be able to read in full: Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey. While it feels like one book seems a little meagre, I look at my children and I think ‘Ah, yes. One book should be much more than enough.’

Jesus-Feminist-Cover-copy

I was looking forward to this book after reading a bit about the author and her general perspective on Jesus and his (and our) lived-out faith. Basic premises: Jesus was a feminist. And not in the secular-type way, but in the bringing-fullness-to-humanity-type way.

She demonstrates many examples of this through Scripture, but one that has stuck with me (so far) is the story of the crippled woman.

Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are set free from your ailment.’ When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.’ But the Lord answered him and said, ‘You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?’ When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing. Luke 13:10-17.

This is what stands out to me: Jesus saying, ‘And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for these eighteen long years, be set free…?’

In a time and a cultural history in which the sons of Abraham have been given glory and honour and historical mention, it is in stark contrast that Jesus refers to the woman as a daughter of Abraham. As a daughter of Abraham, she deserves God’s grace. I can almost visualise Jesus standing there in the synagogue, trying not to falter at their bad logic. ‘You hypocrites! You treat your animals better than you would a daughter of Abraham?! Her healing brings glory to God on the sabbath!’ He shows incredulity at what they consider ‘honouring the sabbath.’ Women were valuable in Jesus’ eyes. They were equal in value to him as men were and (surprisingly?) are so even now. Women are key components in the cosmological saving plan of God, or we would not have shared being created in the first place.

I am reminded of so many forgotten women in today’s age. Most obviously to me are the missing and murdered aboriginal women of whom our governments and local forces wish to forget. These are some of the forgotten women in our time. Their stories have been pushed to the wayside in the hopes that no one would notice. Their lives did not matter to the governments in their time, but they do matter to God, and therefore to us. Their lives deserve God’s grace and equal recognition. And the fact of the matter is this: we are Jesus’ hands and feet. We are the ones who need to step up and recognise their dignity and support it in any way we can. Through Jesus and the Spirit, we are God’s action in this world and we need to spend it in a way that illumines the world to God’s all-encompassing love.

As Sarah Bessey states early on, patriarchy is not God’s dream for humanity. Jesus’ actions demonstrate that and his example, over and over again, informs us of the inherent and equal dignity women have in God’s eyes. God’s plan for us is waaay beyond anything we can imagine. God’s dreams for us follow suite to the image of the mustard seed. If only we had the faith to believe…

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Lenten Reflection

winterI wrote a short Lenten reflection on the Gospel for today (Matthew 25: 31-46) for Mike at I Am Third. Head over there for a short time of prayer for Lent today! Mike is offering a great daily source of prayer on his website for Lent – be sure to take advantage of it!

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Interview with a 5-year-old Spencer

Our big boy turned 5 at the beginning of this month. It’s crazy how quickly time continues to go by. If you follow me on twitter or facebook, you’ll know he has a recent love for sweatpants, and I think in total he’s received 5 pairs this birthday. He is loving them like crazy.

As I did last year on his 4th birthday, I asked him some interview questions to reflect his current interests and thoughts. 2015-02-02 14.18.41What is your favourite colour?

Green.

What is your favourite toy?

Lego.

What is your favourite food?

Pasta!

What kind of food do you not like?

Spinach.

What do you want to do when you grow up?

Be a car racer guy.

What do you like to do with Daddy?

Go to work (occasionally he attends Andy’s work with him).

What do you like to do with Mommy?

Doing school.

What does Daddy do?

He works at the church and he works at home.

What does Mommy do?

Works at home and cleans up everything. And sweeps the floor.

What does Felicity do?

She crawls around and finds stuff and eats stuff.

What does Cassia do?

She plays with me.

What does Spencer do?

Play with Cassia.

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