Sunday, October 17, 2010

Council of Europe Parliament Affirms Healthcare Providers' Right To Conscientious Objection

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Oct. 7 adopted a resolution (full text) supporting the right of conscientious objection by medical providers.  As reported by Radio Free Europe last week, the PACE's Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee presented a very different draft (full text) to the Assembly. The draft focused on the problems posed by "unregulated use of conscientious objection," and recommended limiting its availability to individual health care providers directly involved in performing a procedure, and not to public hospitals and clinics as a whole.  The original proponents of the resolution would have gone even further and totally banned conscientious objection even by individual providers. PACE debated the proposal extensively. (See Press Release.) The resolution it adopted ended up broadly supporting conscientious objection.  The resolution reads in part:
No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human foetus or embryo, for any reason.