Ottawa-based doctor extraordinaire René Leiva comments on the new Saskatchewan guidelines:
After reading the recently revised guidelines from Saskatchewan’s College of Physicians and Surgeons on unplanned pregnancies, I was amazed at some statements in this story. While it is true that the college expects doctors to provide full information to patients considering abortions, it seems incorrect to state that they are forcing doctors to go against their medical and moral judgments and refer to abortions. The guidelines contain very good points in terms of options for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. Furthermore, it is insulting to believe women who want abortions lack the intellect to search in the phone book for their local sexual health clinic and will need a doctor to open the book. I see this in my own practice.
My patients have been informed well in advance of my position that I will not refer to abortions, yet, I feel honoured that they will still look to me for advice in their crisis pregnancies. Some will go on to have abortions without delay but others change their minds after proper counselling. At the end, I think what we truly need is not guidelines but doctors who consciously want the best for their patients.
Dr. Rene Leiva, Ottawa