Council of Europe Resolution Will Regulate Right to Conscientious Objection

Council of Europe Resolution Will Regulate Right to Conscientious Objection

The Council of Europe is currently debating a new draft resolution that would make a women’s right to abortion legally superior to a doctor or health care provider’s conscientious or religious objection to such procedures. The new resolution, entitled “”Women’s access to lawful medical care: the problem of unregulated use of conscientious objection,” would regulate the freedom of doctors and health care providers to refuse to provide abortion, emergency contraception and other anti-life procedures due to conscientious objections.

According to LifeSiteNews.com, the resolution has two main objectives:

“[T]he first – to push for further access to abortion as a “Human Right” – the second: to limit the possibility for individual health care providers and institutions “to refuse to provide certain health services based on religious, moral or philosophical objections.”

The document states:

“While recognising the right of an individual to conscientiously object to performing a certain medical procedure, the Parliamentary Assembly is deeply concerned about the increasing and largely unregulated occurrence of this practice, especially in the field of reproductive health care.

“The Parliamentary Assembly emphasizes the need to balance the right of conscientious objection with the responsibility of the profession and the right of each patient to receive lawful treatment and expresses its concern about the severe consequences that the occurrence of this practice has on women’s access to lawful health care services.”

The resolution is a drastic step in the development of the abortion debate. Under the resolution, not only must abortion be legal, but health care providers are legally required to provide such services. This goes well beyond the typical arguments in support of abortion and places a women’s right to abortion above a health care provider’s religious liberty and right to the free exercise of his or her own skills and property.

Furthermore, the resolution specifically removes the right to “institutional objection,” stating that member states must “rule out the right of institutional conscientious objection, preventing public hospitals or clinics as a whole to invoke conscientious objection.” This means religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals, will be forced to provide such services or they will be driven from the health care industry as a whole.

An international non-profit law firm, The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), is currently preparing to oppose the resolution in support of conscience rights.

You can view a draft of the resolution here.

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