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Australia: Bill would allow Scientologist doctors, etc. to refuse psych meds and treatment

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by COS and NOI News, Dec 13, 2019.

  1. Australia: Proposed Religious Discrimination Bill would allow Scientologist doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers to refuse to provide psychiatric medications and treatment.

    NOTE: Scientology has religious status in Australia pursuant to the decision in Church of the New Faith v Commissioner of Pay-roll Tax (Vict) [1983] HCA 40, (1983) 154 CLR 120, High Court (Australia). See here and here.

    The Sydney Morning Herald: Rules for doctors, pharmacists tightened in new religious discrimination bill

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/fed...ious-discrimination-bill-20191210-p53imo.html

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    By Judith Ireland
    December 10, 2019 — 10.00pm

    A pharmacist could refuse to dispense contraception and a doctor could refuse to provide fertility treatment under the government's proposed new religious discrimination laws, provided they declined to provide that particular service to all patients.

    Attorney-General Christian Porter said the second draft of the religious discrimination bill, released on Tuesday, would allow doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and psychologists to conscientiously object as long as it was "to a procedure, not a person".

    [SNIP]

    Mr Porter used the example of a GP who did not want to "engage in hormone therapies" for a trans person. "That's fine, but you have to exercise that in a consistent way, so you don't engage in the procedure at all," he told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * **

    The proposed bill would also apply to Scientology and Scientologist doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers. Thus, under the bill they could refuse to provide psychiatric medications and treatment.
  2. Examining the second draft of religion bill

    https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au...the-second-draft-religion-bill/15768468009270

    * * * * *BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    The second draft of the government’s religious discrimination bill, released last week, was intended to appease critics of the contentious legislation. But many experts still fear that if it passes parliament, Australians will have greater liberty to discriminate – a curious upshot for anti-discrimination legislation.

    [SNIP]

    “This is George Brandis’s ‘right to be a bigot’ on steroids,” says Associate Professor Luke Beck of Monash University, a leading authority on freedom of religion. “It is disturbing and dangerous.”

    Protections against religious discrimination should be uncontroversial. In submissions on the bill’s first draft, groups as diverse as the Institute of Public Affairs, Australian Human Rights Commission, Australian Christian Lobby and Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) welcomed legislative protections in principle. But the government has taken a standard anti-discrimination law template, already applied in the context of race, sex, disability and age, and mutated it with several unprecedented additions. If the bill is enacted, religious rights will be elevated above other rights.

    Most controversial within this bill are protections for religiously motivated statements and actions, even when these would otherwise amount to unlawful discrimination. This will empower a range of organisations – including charities, hospitals and aged-care bodies – to hire and fire based on religion. They also enable any individual to make statements of belief, free from the spectre of anti-discrimination laws. And they permit doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists and psychologists to decline to provide healthcare on religious grounds.

    More specifically, if passed, the legislation would mean that a religious doctor could tell a transgender patient that gender is binary, a Catholic doctor could refuse to provide contraceptives and a Jewish school could insist that staff must be Jewish and act consistently with Judaism. These examples are not far-fetched – each is taken from the draft bill’s own explanatory notes.

    [SNIP]

    “This will become a lawyer’s picnic,” says Robertson. “It will be a boon to Scientologists and evangelical cranks, who will use it for courtroom crusades. Our judges really have better things to do than count the number of angels on a pinhead.”

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

    Again, the proposed bill would also apply to Scientology and Scientologist doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers. Thus, under the bill they could refuse to provide psychiatric medications and treatment.

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