St. Luke’s News


ATTENTION Bioethics and Christian Theology AG colleagues,

For the past six summers, Chris Tollefsen and Farr Curlin have taught a one-week seminar titled, “Medical Ethics: A Natural Law Perspective”, sponsored by the Witherspoon Institute. The seminar is held on the campus of Princeton University. This year’s seminar is June 25 to July 1, 2017, and there are still a handful of spots left (we limit the seminar to 15 students).
The Witherspoon Institute underwrites the Seminar and provides housing and food throughout the week. The only cost is $200 to register. 



Response to the $600 million Fundraising Initiative for Abortion Access by the International Community


MARCH 6, 2017 St. John’s, Newfoundland- MaterCare International, Canada (MCI) opposes the current funding initiatives by nearly 50 countries to provide and promote abortions as the family planning method of choice for poorer countries. The Canadian government is committing nearly $20 million to the $600 million international goal to fund so-called sexual health and family planning initiatives reacting to the US withdrawal of funds for abortions and abortion-related services overseas. MCI opposes this titanic effort of the international community in choosing to fund abortions, which do not significantly reduce maternal deaths, over meeting the basic obstetrical needs of mothers and children in order to greatly reduce maternal mortality.


MCI has spent over 20 years working with mothers and children in some of the world’s poorest regions. In our decades of experience, we have seen that the only coherent way to reduce maternal and perinatal mortalities  is to provide essential  obstetrical care  that women take for granted here in Canada. Causes of maternal mortality are well known and include;  postpartum haemorrhage (35%), Hypertension (18%), Indirect causes (HIV, anaemia, malaria & non-communicable diseases) (18%), other direct causes (ectopic pregnancy, pulmonary embolism, obstructed labour) (11%) amounting to 91%.  Deaths occur during the last three months of pregnancy, during  labour and delivery and two weeks afterwards and are preventable .with essential obstetrics which includes comprehensive prenatal care with identification of mothers at high risk mothers, safe clean facilities, adequately equipped  in which to deliver, and properly trained  health professionals, midwives and doctors.


MCI is presently operating a project in a county in Kenya with a population of 188,000 of mostly nomadic pasturalists, 60% of whom are below the poverty line.  The county has been described as “unique” because of the arid climate, and generally poor roads, communications, and healthcare infrastructure, as well as isolation and neglect. The grim reality of maternal health status and services in the maternal mortality (M.M.) is reported as 480/100,000 live births although the county statistician has stated there is underreporting and the true figure was more likely 750/100,000 live births. (Ibid)  Thus MM is the highest in Kenya and probably sub-Saharan Africa. There is only one Government hospital with one operating theatre.  Most mothers in rural areas do not receive any prenatal care and deliver in their manyattas (huts) without trained help or sanitary conditions. The result is that most of the maternal deaths occur in the villages. Presently there is a severe drought with the loss of cattle and severe malnutrition compounding the problems of health care access and inadequate services.


Abortion is irrelevant to relieving the tragedy of maternal death and drought. To provide abortion above access to standard care reveals abortion for what it truly is, yet another easier, cheaper, uniformed and less humanist option provided by wealthier countries with their own ideology and agendas for  poorer countries whose people are in desperate need of real and tangible compassion and competency.


The mothers, families, colleagues, elders and communities we work with have all expressed the that abortion is an attack on Africa, a form of cultural imperialism, and a new sort of colonialism. African communities are tired of Western governments and NGOs interfering with their cultural systems and values and enforcing the ultimatum of acceptance of Western values in exchange for services.


If the Canadian government and the greater international community are serious about helping mothers, then they must extend the same access to clean, affordable delivery facilities and skilled healthcare professionals that we offer to women in Canada. This standard of care must be the priority in order to reduce maternal deaths.


Contact Person;

Dr R.L. Walley

Executive Director.

Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Ph office : +1 (709) 579-6472

Mobile +1 (709) 749-3826






See the latest update from The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

South African Supreme Court rejects euthanasia/assisted suicide


Dear Colleagues,As per our concerns regarding the CPSA renewal questions regarding MAID, we wanted to inform you of the CPSA’s response to our inquiry.The question of concern was:
“If a patient asks you about MAID, you must provide them (or their designate) without delay contact information for the Alberta Health Services Medical Assistance in Dying Care Coordination Service.”
True or FalseFirst, we asked for clarification on the phrase “without delay” explaining that it would seem too hasty to provide someone with contact information without first discussing patient concerns or allowing the patient some time to discuss alternatives.
-Dr. Theman’s response was that we cannot delay or avoid providing a patient with information if they are persistent in their request. It is understood that an appropriate discussion would have already taken place.

Second, we asked for clarification about the information that must be provided. It would seem from the AHS MAID Placemat that an alternative to giving contact information for the AHS MAID Care Coordination Service could be that patients can contact HealthLink directly for information about MAID.
-Dr. Theman acknowledged this, and explained that the College did not want to specify every mechanism for providing information. He also explained that specific scenarios would only be challenged in the case of a complaint coming to the College.

Third, we asked about how the results of the answers would be used.
-Dr. Theman was very clear that there would be no tracking of answers, and that these questions were simply a mechanism to encourage members to understand their obligations and be aware of the College Standard.

We are grateful for Dr. Theman’s clarifications, but admit that there remain some concerns about the ambiguity of the wording.

Hopefully these responses will better equip you to respond to the question in your College renewal process.

Sincerely,Joe Askin and Thomas BouchardCo-chairs
Alberta Committee for Conscience Protection
Their original letter to members:
Dear Colleagues,
There is another issue that we wanted to draw your attention to with regards to our College registration. This year’s CPSA renewal has asked two very leading questions about euthanasia and assisted suicide (MAID).
One of these questions is problematic, and we are seeking clarification from the College in this regard.
The questions you will be asked when you renew your membership read as follows:
The following questions will help identify physicians’ awareness of their responsibilities surrounding medical assistance in dying (MAID):

If a patient asks you about MAID, you must provide them (or their designate) without delay contact information for the Alberta Health Services Medical Assistance in Dying Care Coordination Service. 

True False

- Before providing medical assistance in dying (MAID), you must ensure the patient fully understands they can, at any time and in any manner, withdraw their request. 

True False

The second question is obviously true. The first question, however, has two problems in our view. The first is the requirement to provide patients who ask about MAID with the contact information for the Care Coordination Service (CCS). Based on the MAID placemat, patients can self-refer and get more information through HealthLink, so there is no need to give the direct contact information for the CCS which would be a form of participation. The second problem is the statement that it be provided “without delay”. This minimizes the need to ensure that patients have the opportunity to think through their questions about MAID, including that their medical concerns have been properly addressed in the first place.

We are trying to clarify the College’s intention regarding this question and will be in touch with you about this, but wanted to bring this to your attention prior to your renewing your registration.
Joe Askin and Thomas Bouchard
Alberta Committee for Conscience Protection