Victory for reproductive rights at the Ontario Court of Appeal

May 21, 2019

On May 15, 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), to uphold a decision made against the Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada, The Canadian Federation of Catholic Physicians’ Societies, and Canadian Physicians for Life. The CPSO was defending policies that require physicians to provide an "effective referral" in the event patients required or wanted care that conflicted with the physician's religious beliefs. This includes care related to medical assistance in dying, contraception, and abortion services. The appeal court found that "the policies facilitate equitable access to health care for all Ontarians, particularly the most marginalized. This important goal justified the interference with the appellants’ religious freedom". This decision is in line with the AOM's Policy Position on Reproductive Choice. For more detail, the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) provides an excellent analysis of this case, and the implications of the decision.