The Question of Conscientious Objection for Medical Practioners

In a world full of divergent views about religion and morality issues in society, women’s rights to receive family planning and safe abortion services have often been denied on grounds of conflicting views for healthcare providers. The need to find a balance between these two perspectives propelled Global Doctors for Choice (GDC) to fully explore the phenomenon of conscience-based refusal of reproductive healthcare worldwide.Conscientious objection and refusal to provide reproductive healthcare: A White Paper examining prevalence, health consequences, and policy responses draws from comprehensive medical, public health, legal, ethical and social science research from 1998-2013 in six languages to explore how and why reproductive healthcare is denied to patients, and what the health and policy-based aftereffects are.

Measuring how often patients are denied reproductive healthcare is difficult, because there is a lack of consensus as to what it means to be an objector and no standard definition of the practice. To effectively address this issue, empirical evidence is needed so that multiple concerns are taken into account, including the right of clinicians to object, the right of other clinicians to provide services, and the right of women to access legal reproductive health services. This White Paper developed by GDC, can be a useful tool for both advocates and policy makers in addressing this complex issue.

Read the full paper here

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