Extract An American antiabortion publication that was mailed to Canadian physicians has angered many Ontario doctors and caused Queen’s University to contact police. The 32-page pamphlet, Quack the Ripper , was mailed by Life Dynamics Inc. of Denton, Texas, in March. . . the publication’s goal is to dissuade young physicians from providing abortions by insulting those who do perform them.
Abstract Although the CMA Code of Ethics is only a 10-page booklet, revising it is proving to be complicated and time consuming. It is currently undergoing its first major revision in 25 years in an attempt to bring it up to date with changes within the medical profession and medical practice. The work was to have been completed in time for presentation to General Council during the 1995 annual meeting, but because of its complexity and the need for consensus the revised code will not be presented to council until August 1996.
Extract the World Medical Association (WMA) . . . recently found itself caught up in the most controversial problem in WMA history. At issue was the appointment of Dr. Hans-Joachim Sewering, 76, as the WMA’s president-elect. He was to have become president in October. Angry physicians belonging to several WMA member organizations, including the CMA, demanded that the appointment be overturned because Sewering had belonged to the Schutzstaffel, the Nazi elite guard, before World War II. . . . Sewering has been heavily involved in WMA affairs for more than 20 years.
Extract A “chilling effect” brought about by federal abortion legislation may be the reason almost 1 in 10 physicians who had been performing abortions in Canada in 1989 stopped providing the service in 1990, a CMA survey indicates. . . . The data also confirm an earlier CMA estimate that 50 to 80 physicians have stopped performing abortions since Bill C-43 was tabled . . . . “The Canadian Medical Association is unequivocally opposed to Bill C-43,” she said, noting that the CMA was not alone . . .
Extract In a letter to Edulaw, a Calgary-based medicolegal newsletter, Kim Campbell says physicians have nothing to fear from Bill C-43, the federal abortion legislation that is currently before the Senate. . . In her letter to Edulaw, Campbell says “certain persons” opposed to the legislation are distorting its contents and potential impact in order to “cause fear on the part of medical practitioners”. She maintains that there are adequate safeguards in both the civil and criminal law “to prevent frivolous and malicious proceedings being brought against doctors”. . . In forming an opinion, says Campbell, physicians will be able to consider “such factors as rape, incest, genetic defects and socio-economic factors”.
Extract The CMA has proposed an amendment that would make abortion an indictable offence “unless [it] is induced by or under the direction of a medical practitioner in accordance with generally accepted standards of the medical profession”. The association has also asked that a new section be added to protect patients, hospitals and physicians from the “threat and costs of unjustified, politically or harassment-inspired criminal charges”. That amendment would mean that no prosecution could be instituted under the new law without consent of an attorney general. The CMA thinks this would help eliminate the laying of frivolous charges by antiabortionists . . .
Extract T he CMA Board of Directors has given final approval to a brief outlining the association’s stand on Bill C-43, the abortion legislation introduced by the federal government last fall. . . . It will restate physicians’ opposition to the placement of abortion – a medical procedure – in the Criminal Code. The CMA says abortion is the only medical procedure accorded such treatment. . . The brief will also address the problem of criminal and civil charges against doctors, and especially the harassment of physicians by those holding extremist views on this highly politicized issue. Many physicians are concerned this will happen if the bill passes in its original form.
Extract A recent survey of physicians’ opinions about abortion is proving to be almost as controversial as the abortion issue itself. The poll, which cost about $30,000 to conduct, was mailed to approximately 50, 000 doctors in August by an antiabortion organization called Canadian Physicians for Life (CPL). . . By mid-August both CMAJ and the CMA had begun receiving letters critical of the poll. “This is not a survey, this is a propaganda piece”, stated Dr. Michael Klein, a professor of family medicine at McGill University. . . A less angry, though equally critical, letter was sent by Dr. Peter Magner of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary. He said that CPL makes a “quite reasonable argument” that CMA members should be allowed to have their views reflected in association policy statements, but adds: “I was therefore dismayed by the gross bias of the accompanying multiple-choice questionnaire. . . .”
Extract the most heated debate at the 122nd annual meeting didn’t come until its dying hours, when the abortion issue was raised in three separate recommendations put forward under new business. . . .The first recommendation, and the one that received the loudest criticism, was . . .”that many Canadian physicians do not agree with the 1988 CMA recommendations regarding induced abortion . . . the amended version was defeated by a large margin. . . . A recommendation that the CMA reassess its policy on induced abortion “with specific direction that the rights of the unbom child be considered” was referred to the Committee on Ethics, which is already working to establish a CMA policy on fetal rights.
Extract The survey, which attracted responses from 443 women physicians, found that 60.3% of respondents favoured abortion without restrictions during the first trimester of a pregnancy . . 28.6% for the second trimester, and . . . 3% for pregnancies that had lasted more than 20 weeks. . . .the number . . . wanting some restrictions jumped from 37.4% for the first trimester . . . to 62.9% for the second and 64.6% for the third. Only small fractions of FMWC members – 1.4% and 2.8%, respectively – were opposed to abortion for any reason during the first two trimesters. However, this jumped to 27.1% for pregnancies that had lasted longer than 20 weeks.