section 287(5)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section of the Criminal Code allows the Minister of Health to request information regarding therapeutic abortions from hospitals and medical practitioners in the province.

SECTION WORDING

287(5) The Minister of Health of a province may by order (a) require a therapeutic abortion committee for any hospital in that province, or any member thereof, to furnish him with a copy of any certificate described in paragraph (4)(c) issued by that committee, together with such other information relating to the circumstances surrounding the issue of that certificate as he may require; or (b) require a medical practitioner who, in that province, has procured the miscarriage of any female person named in a certificate described in paragraph (4)(c), to furnish him with a copy of that certificate, together with such other information relating to the procuring of the miscarriage as he may require.

EXPLANATION

Section 287(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada grants the provincial Minister of Health the power to order a therapeutic abortion committee or a medical practitioner to provide information related to therapeutic abortions performed in hospitals within the province. Specifically, the Minister can request copies of certificates issued by the therapeutic abortion committee and any other information related to the circumstances surrounding the issue of the certificate. The Minister can also request copies of certificates issued by the committee for any female person whose miscarriage has been procured by a medical practitioner, along with additional information related to the procedure. This section seeks to ensure that therapeutic abortions are conducted according to the timelines and criteria set out in section 287(4) of the Criminal Code, which allows for therapeutic abortions in certain circumstances. By requiring that committees and practitioners share information with the Minister of Health, the government is able to monitor and enforce compliance with the law. The requirement for therapeutic abortion committees to issue certificates and for medical practitioners to provide copies of these certificates to the Minister of Health is a means of creating accountability and transparency around the process of obtaining a therapeutic abortion. It is also a means of ensuring that therapeutic abortions are safe and conducted with respect for the rights and health of the female person involved. Overall, section 287(5) is an important component of the Criminal Code of Canada's approach to therapeutic abortions, as it supports the structures and processes that ensure that therapeutic abortions are performed in a legal, safe, and responsible way.

COMMENTARY

Section 287(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada grants significant power to the Minister of Health of a province when it comes to therapeutic abortions. The legislation allows the Minister to issue an order requiring a therapeutic abortion committee or a medical practitioner to provide them with relevant information on a therapeutic abortion performed in that province. The law permits the Minister to ask for a copy of the certificate describing the grounds on which the therapeutic abortion was performed, along with other information about the circumstances surrounding the procedure. The purpose of this section of the Criminal Code is to ensure that the Minister is aware of and has oversight over any therapeutic abortion that is conducted in the country. Since this is a sensitive matter, the law mandates that decisions about therapeutic abortions should be taken by a committee made up of medical experts rather than an individual practitioner. This is to ensure that the decision is based on sound medical evidence and ethical considerations. The law sees the Minister as the ultimate authority and watchdog of the therapeutic abortions performed in the province. The legislation seeks to ensure that the Minister has access to information relating to the decision-making process of a therapeutic abortion committee or a medical practitioner. This is to enable the Minister to satisfy themselves that the therapeutic abortion conducted was based on the correct criteria and met all of the legislative requirements. The legislation further empowers the Minister to issue orders that call for more information or request that further investigations be conducted on any therapeutic abortion performed in that province. While the Section 287(5) of the Criminal Code appears to grant significant power to the Minister of Health, it is vital to note that the essence of the legislation is to ensure transparency and accountability. The law requires the Minister to be alert to any issues of malpractice, misconduct or deviations from legislative requirements. It is important to maintain the integrity of the therapeutic abortion system and ensure that patients continue to receive necessary and high-quality care. In conclusion, the law acknowledges that therapeutic abortions are a vital medical procedure performed under specific situations when the life or health of the mother is at risk, or when the fetus is deemed non-viable. Section 287(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is there to ensure that these procedures are only performed by medical practitioners with expertise in the field and that the decisions related to these procedures are taken by a committee of experts due to their sensitive and complex nature. The section empowers the Minister of Health to oversee the procedures and mandates practitioners and committees to provide them with all necessary information required to ensure transparency and accountability. This way, patients receive the care they need, and the public confidence in the medical system is maintained.

STRATEGY

Section 287(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires that medical professionals must report abortions to the Minister of Health of their respective provinces. The Minister of Health can request copies of therapeutic abortion certificates and any other information related to the circumstances surrounding the procedure. This section of the Criminal Code is a contentious issue for many, specifically for those who argue that physicians ought to have a greater degree of autonomy to perform therapeutic abortions. Strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code must consider factors such as patient privacy, medical liability, professional ethics, and political opinions. Firstly, physicians and their patients have a right to privacy; therefore, any information provided to the Minister of Health must be done in a manner that complies with privacy legislation. Additionally, physicians who perform therapeutic abortions could potentially face medical liability if the information shared with the Minister of Health is utilized to prosecute them or their patients. This consideration is particularly relevant in provinces where there are no formal regulatory frameworks for therapeutic abortion committees. For instance, if members of the therapeutic abortion committee do not follow established protocols or fail to adhere to legal guidelines, medical professionals could place their license at risk when submitting information to the Minister of Health. Furthermore, physicians are bound by ethical considerations, such as the Hippocratic Oath, which requires them to prioritize their patients' well-being over political or governmental pressure. Additionally, they should provide accurate and honest information to the Minister of Health. As such, balancing legal obligations, medical ethics, and accountability can be challenging. Medical professionals must determine how to navigate these conflicts to ensure they can best serve their patients. From a strategic standpoint, medical professionals could work to create formal regulatory frameworks for therapeutic abortion committees. This move could help establish transparent procedures that ensure that reporting to the Minister of Health does not present risks to physicians or their patients. These frameworks could create oversight for the committees, establishing clear protocols for reporting therapeutic abortions and ensuring that the decision-making process is transparent, legally defined, and fair. Moreover, medical professionals can educate decision-makers, opinion leaders, and the public about the necessity of therapeutic abortions and create a conversation that highlights the critical role that physicians play in facilitating their procedures. Creating a transparent and open dialogue may reduce stigma and encourage policymakers and other interested parties to consider sounder, more balanced policies concerning therapeutic abortions. Lastly, healthcare professionals could work to decriminalize therapeutic abortions federally. This approach would eliminate the need to report therapeutic abortions to the Minister of Health provincially, reducing the risk of physician liability, ensuring confidentiality, and increasing access to safe and medically appropriate procedures. Additionally, it would enable medical professionals to prioritize their patients' health without fear of prosecution, thereby improving overall patient quality of care. In conclusion, while the reporting requirement in section 287(5) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a contentious issue, medical professionals must adhere to legal guidelines while protecting patient privacy, maintaining ethical obligations, and navigating political affiliations. Through regulation, education, and policy adjustments, healthcare professionals can better advocate for their patients' needs and steer decision-makers towards balanced policies that reduce harm and improve the overall safety and quality of therapeutic abortions.