We continue with further developments following the story of Chantal Barry (http://news NULL.nationalpost NULL.com/2014/06/26/doctor-on-duty-will-not-prescribe-the-birth-control-pill-reads-sign-at-calgary-walk-in-clinic/), a Calgary walk-in clinic physician who refuses to prescribe birth control. Later, before we discuss This Week in the Vatican (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/world/vatican-formally-recognizes-international-group-of-exorcists-1 NULL.1897357), we find out that Bishop Fred “You-know-who” Henry predictably weighs in (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/life/Pill+health+care/9995705/story NULL.html) on the kerfuffle and continues his amazing streak of getting it all wrong… Very wrong. CBC Radio One’s weekly program The Sixth Day (http://www NULL.cbc NULL.ca/day6/podcasts/) discussed the situation in a more general sense with guests Arthur Schafer and Margaret Somerville, two medical ethicists with greatly differing opinions on the matter. Indeed, I scoff at the description of Somerville as a “medical ethicist”. I think it more accurate to describe her as “Catholic apologist”. She certainly makes no more sense than Henry. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is revisiting the ethical guidelines regarding conscience rights and looking for public input. You have until August 5th to fill out their survey (http://policyconsult NULL.cpso NULL.on NULL.ca/?page_id=3403), and I urge everyone who cares about this to do so. I think President Obama said it best, paraphrasing what we’ve been saying all along: “No, you can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom’. If you don’t like birth control, don’t use it. Religious freedom doesn’t mean you can force others to live by your own beliefs.” While he was talking about the Hobby Lobby case, this sentiment applies just as much to Chantal Barry and her unprofessional ilk. But first, I get a response from the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons to an email I sent in requesting answers to a number of questions I had regarding this situation.
I’ve been a very bad podcast host not getting an episode out for a while. Excuses include “It’s summer”, “I’m starting in a new position” and “I’m just plain lazy.” The latter is likely the closest to the truth. Well, anyway, we’re back, and I had to get this episode out because the next when is the follow-up to some of the discussion in this one. When we first started recording only Kris was available (Haysn joined us later), and I really like having at least a third. So I desperately searched the intertubes and found one Darrel Ray (http://recoveringfromreligion NULL.org/board-of-directors/). We met Darrel in Kamloops and had a great time with him at the after-conference get-togethers. Darrel is a psychologist and the author of two books, The God Virus: How Religion Affects Our Lives and Culture (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/The-God-Virus-religion-infects/dp/0970950519/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371851386&sr=8-1&keywords=God+Virus) and Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion? (http://www NULL.amazon NULL.com/Sex-God-Religion-Distorts-Sexuality/dp/0970950543/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371851448&sr=8-1&keywords=sex+and+god+how+religion+distorts+sexuality), and an excellent choice for the topic du jour.
When Joan Chand’oiseau went to a Calgary walk-in medical clinic she was gob-smacked to see a prominently-posted sign that said, highlighted in bright yellow, that Chantal Barry, the physician on duty, “WILL NOT prescribe the birth control pill.” (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/health/Calgary+doctor+refuses+prescribe+birth+control+over+moral+beliefs/9978442/story NULL.html) Appalled at this, Chand’oiseau posted a picture of the sign on her Facebook page and it quickly went viral around Calgary. Considering that one in five Calgarians are without a family doctor and that prescribing birth control is one of the most common services provided by clinics, this has serious implications. Along with Darrel, Kris, Haysn and I discuss the what is permitted by ethical guidelines and the ethics of this action.
After Darrel left us, we continued on to discuss provincial Progressive Conservative party hopeful Rick McIver and his association with the demonstrably-bigoted March for Jesus group headed by street preacher Artur Pawlowski. The predictable fallout from this (http://www NULL.calgaryherald NULL.com/news/crime/McIver+regrets+March+Jesus+calls+anti+remarks+ugly+nasty+video/9954879/story NULL.html) (well, predictable to everyone other than Rick) caused his leadership significant damage and to disassociate himself from Artur’s group. This led us to finish off with a request from our listeners to provide me with a non-gender slur which is at least as good as the word “dick”.