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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude

Legal Commentary

The commentaries provided on the website are not a substitute for legal advice provided by a qualified professional.  Commentaries are grouped by national jurisdiction.


Protecting the Careers of Medical Professionals Who Believe in the Hippocratic Oath

  • Wesley J. Smith*  | . . . Opposition to protecting the right of conscience has suddenly grown so intense that it is easy to foresee physicians, nurses, and pharmacists who hold to the orthodox understanding of the Hippocratic Oath being forced out of medicine altogether . . .
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When doctors say No
A law professor defends physicians' right to conscientious objection

  • Michael Quinlan* | As abortion, euthanasia and other controversial procedures become more widespread, conscientious objection for healthcare workers is becoming a flashpoint for controversy throughout the Western world. Some doctors and ethicists have argued that conscientious objection itself is unethical because doctors are required to fulfil any legal request that their patients make. MercatorNet interviewed Professor Michael Quinlan, dean of the law school at the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia, about this contentious issue. He has just published an article on the situation in Australian jurisdictions.
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Growing Intolerance Threatens Rights of Conscience of Health Care Workers

  • Lynn Wardle* | Around the world, policies and actions of many governments and governmental agencies are threatening rights of conscience of health care providers and employees.  These challenges and dangers seem to be increasing.

    Recent times have seen numerous high-profile incidents in which nurses, doctors, hospital staff, government employees, and other health care workers are being pressured, required and forced to provide morally-controversial elective procedures (such as non-therapeutic abortions) despite their expressed moral objections to participating in such services.
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Doctors' Orders

  • Michael A. Fragoso* | . . . conscience itself is not a moral or religious belief; it is a rational faculty that allows us to apply our religious or moral beliefs. If professional organizations and governments wish to force physicians to violate their own consciences, they are not forcing them to violate their religious tenets or moral beliefs, but rather their very moral compasses implicit in their rationality. . .
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Conscientious Objection as a 'Crime Against Humanity' 

  • Sean Murphy* | . . .Readers of Canadian Health Law and Policy are to be persuaded that a health care worker who declines, for reasons of conscience, to direct a patient to the morning after pill or abortion commits the offence of "forced pregnancy." . . . if . . . not actually a crime against humanity analogous to torture, . . . at least a gross violation of human rights that ought to be prosecuted by human rights commissions. . .
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Western Defense of Conscience:
Interview With Law Professor Rafael Navarro-Valls

  • Zenit | The right to conscientious objection -- in areas ranging from health care to education -- is one of the most important legal battles being fought in the West, according to a law professor and author on the subject. . .
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