1 November, 2013
Covering the period from 1 September, 2013 to 31 October, 2013
1. By Region/Country
Visit the Project News/Blog for details.
M. Berer argues in a paper in Reproductive Health Matters that Catholic health professionals and/or hospitals refusing to
provide abortions in an emergency should not be allowed to provide maternity services,
even if they are the main or only providers. She asserts that governments should refuse
them funding, or replace them with non-religious services or force them to
provide non-religious staff at all times to provide abortions.
Belgian politicians are debating a bill proposed by the governing Socialist
party to legalize euthanasia for children (with parental consent). The
bill would also abolish the current 5 year limitation on advance directives for
euthanasia in order to make the procedure available to persons with dementia.
Legalization of euthanasia and assisted suicide continue to dominate the
news in Canada. The B.C. Court of Appeal overturned a lower court
decision that would have legalized physician assisted suicide. The
judgement will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.
During hearings into the euthanasia bill proposed by the government of
Quebec, it became evident that the official medico-legal establishment of
the province supports euthanasia, despite the opposition of most palliative
care physicians. Very little has appeared in the English language
media because virtually all of the oral and written submissions were made in
French. Rough parallel French/English translations have been posted on
the Project site.
By a narrow margin (351/319) the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe rejected a
Report on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights put forward
by Edite Estrela of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality.
The report complained of what it called "the abuse of conscientious
objection" and "the unregulated use of conscientious objection."
The controversy surrounding Irelandâ€™s new abortion law has been further
inflamed by a false story by
Irish Times Health reporter
Paul Cullen. The Times was forced to remove the article from
its website, but has offered no explanation to
account for the fabrication of the story and the failure of editorial
oversight that permitted its publication. A priest has
resigned from the board of the Mater Hospital in Dublin following its public
statement that it would comply with the new Irish abortion law, which has
not yet come into effect.
On average, about 11 people a day were killed by Dutch
physicians following euthanasia protocols in 2012. The
total (4,188) represents an increase of 13% over the previous
year. Some researchers believe that the increase is the
result of greater acceptance of the procedure by physicians and
the public. 80% of the patients were killed in their homes
Becket Fund reports that there are 79 court cases involving 200
plaintiffs now moving through the U.S. courts, challenging the federal
regulation requiring employers with over 50 employees to provide health
insurance for birth control and surgical sterilization. Of the 40
lawsuits filed by for-profit corporations, 32 have been granted
injunctions against the law, and only six refused.
100 American professors of obstetrics and gynaecology have signed a statement
statement expressing frustration that abortion policies and laws envisioned
by 100 predecessors who signed a 1972 letter have not materialized. Notably,
the statement reiterates the demand of the original letter that objecting
physicians should be compelled to refer for abortion, something many objectors
find unacceptable, and insists that all hospitals that admit women should be
forced to admit women for abortions â€“ and, presumably, provide them.
2. News Items
You can search news items by date, country and topic in the
3. Recent Postings
Activist complains that Catholic hospitals wonâ€™t facilitate
American OB/Gyn professors demand compulsory referral by
Arguments for the Protection of Conscience (video)
Irish Times publishes false "abortion" story
Embryos abandoned by parents present ethical, legal quandary
Artificial reproduction unregulated in Ireland
Science: the religion that must not be questioned
Euthanasia statistics in the Netherlands
Irish hospital agrees to comply with abortion law
Lost in Translation: The Failure of the International
Reproductive Rights Norm
Priest resigns after Mater Hospital agrees to comply with Irish
Obamacare and religious liberty: A corporate conscience?
Doctor risks his career after refusing abortion referral
of appeal overturns assisted suicide judgement
European parliament narrowly rejects report attacking freedom of
Belgium considering euthanasia for children
Update on American HHS controversy
Cuando la conscienca molesta a la ley
Charter of Values:
Euthanasia hearing transcripts (Quebec)
4. Action Items
The Project will post notices of conferences
that are explore and support the principle freedom of conscience, including the
legitimate role of moral or religious conviction in shaping law and public
policy in pluralist states or societies.
6. Publications of Interest
Termination of pregnancy as emergency obstetric care: the interpretation of
Catholic health policy and the consequences for pregnant women. An
analysis of the death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland and similar cases.
Reproductive Health Matters 2013;21(41):9â€“17
Fitzgerald, C. (2013)
A Neglected Aspect of Conscience: Awareness of
Implicit Attitudes. Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12058
Fourie C. (2013),
Moral Distress and Moral Conflict in Clinical Ethics.
Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12064
Heino A, Gissler M, Apter D, Fiala C.
Conscientious objection and induced abortion in Europe. The
European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care, 2013; 18:
Kantymir L, McLeod, C. (2013),
Justification for Conscience
Exemptions in Health Care. Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12055
Kolers A. (2013)
Am I My Profession's Keeper? Bioethics.
Shaw J, Downie J. (2013)
Welcome to the Wild, Wild North:
Conscientious Objection Policies Governing Canada's Medical, Nursing,
Pharmacy, and Dental Professions. Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12057
Contraception and the Birth of Corporate Conscience.
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law.
Weinstock D. (2013) Conscientious Refusal and Health Professionals:
Does Religion Make a Difference? Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/bioe.12059