Dr Shirley van der Merwe, MBChB

Thank you to all the Albertans who support my freedom as a doctor to conscientiously object and are asking the CPSA to remove the "effective referral" clause from the new draft. I am a Family Physician who has moved to Alberta from another province in part due to a sense that here the CPSA has more respect for my conscience than other Colleges. I have faced College disciplinary action in my previous province for declining to refer a patient for a procedure that would cause death and it does NOT help one's mental health to have one's professional regulatory body challenge one's deeply held convictions one thought where protected by the Charter. I can personally attest to the truth of what so many of you have already said - If we don't protect Physicians' rights to not be involved in a procedure they consider to be murder (I consider a referral to be tantamount to accessory to murder), we will lose Physicians to jurisdictions where they feel safe to follow their conscience in "first doing no harm". I feel extreme anxiety each time a patient asks me to refer them for MAiD or an abortion. By extending MAiD to those suffering mental anguish, many more "Doc, please can you help me die" requests will challenge our already burnt out medical community. Keep us doctors safe to follow our consciences without fear of consequences from the College so we can serve Albertans well FOR LIFE, not death.

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