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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Periodicals & Papers


Dyer C.  Receptionists may not invoke conscience clause. BMJ 1988 Dec 10;297(6662):1493-4 (News)  PMID: 11644358

Clare Dyer

  • The House of Lords last week unanimously rejected an appeal by a health centre receptionist sacked by Salford Health Authority after refusing to type letters referring patients for termination of pregnancy. Mrs Barbara Janaway, a Roman Catholic, tried to invoke the conscience clause under the 1967 Abortion Act, under which anyone with a conscientious objection to abortion may refuse to participate in any treatment authorised by the act. The authority, which employed Mrs Janaway as a secretary-receptionist at Irlam health centre, dismissed her on grounds of misconduct. Her application for judicial review was dismissed, and the Court of Appeal turned down her appeal but gave leave to appeal to the Lords.  The Law Lords held that participation in treatment did not, as Mrs Janaway argued, cover such criminal concepts as being an accessory and therefore did not cover the typing of letters. . .

Grondelski JM. A dilemma for institutions with consciences. America (NY) 1988 Feb 13;158(8):213-5   PMID: 11658981

J.M. Grondelski

Kluge EH.  When caesarian section operations imposed by a court are justified.  Journal of medical ethics, 1988, 14, 206-211.

Eike-Henner Kluge

  • Court-ordered caesarian sections against the explicit wishes of the pregnant woman have been criticised as violations of the woman's fundamental right to autonomy and to the inviolability ofthe person-particularly, so it is argued, because the fetus in utero is not yet a person. This paper examines the logic of this position and argues that once the fetus has passed a certain stage of neurological development it is a person, and that then the whole issue becomes one of balancing ofrights: the right-to-life of the fetal person against the right to autonomy and inviolability ofthe woman; and that the fetal right usually wins. . .