Medical Clinic Slammed After Doctor Refuses To Prescribe Contraception
A Victorian medical clinic has sparked outrage after it announced that one of its doctors had refused to prescribe birth control or write IVF and abortion referrals.
The list of services the doctor refused to provide also included sterilisation referrals, contraceptive Implanon insertion and consultation for vasectomies.
Torquay Medical Health and Wellbeing Clinic confirmed to 10 daily that one of their doctors will not be providing the services after a public notice about the change went viral online.
They said not all doctors at the clinic, south-west of Melbourne, would be barring these sexual health services, but declined to comment further.
The clinic's move has been met with criticism and calls to boycott other centres where doctors' refuse to offer the services.
Former MP Emma Husar wrote on Twitter that the Dr at the clinic "should be struck off," in response to the public notice.
Animal Justice Party's Andy Meddick Tweeted that he felt the doctor was "likely emboldened by [the] Religious Discrimination Bill".
Reason Party Leader Fiona Patten told Herald Sun it was "just another example of a health professional imposing their own moral judgment on patients".
“This sort of disgraceful behaviour will only be exacerbated if the federal government's so-called ‘religious freedom bill’ is passed,” Patten said.
The Coalition was forced to revise its proposal and make 11 changes after broad criticism of the first draft.
The second draft of the Religious Discrimination Bill, released in December last year, said refusing to provide health services must be based on the objection of "the service generally rather than attaching to the personal attributes or characteristics of the individual receiving that service."
"For example, the definition would capture a refusal by a Catholic doctor to prescribe contraception generally, but would not capture a refusal to prescribe contraception to single women," the second draft noted.
In a submission to the Exposure Draft Religious Discrimination Bill 2019, the Australian Medical Association warned if the bill was "applied inappropriately" without balancing the duty to the patient, "a doctor’s right to conscientious objection could have significant negative and harmful impacts on individuals’ access to health care."
The AMA concluded a doctor should "inform the patient that they have the right to see another doctor and ensure the patient has sufficient information to enable them to exercise that right."
Public comment on the bill is open until the end of January, with the government planning to introduce the legislation to Parliament in early 2020.
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