The conscience rights of health practitioners must be protected

A NSW bill could deter some of the brightest and best from entering health services


Greg Walsh

One of the main concerns about the Bill recently introduced to amend New South Wales laws on abortion is how health practitioners with a conscientious objection to participating in abortion will be regulated. Under the Bill, health practitioners must disclose that they have a conscientious objection if they are asked to perform, assist with, provide advice about, or make a decision concerning whether an abortion should be performed.

There is also a referral requirement if a request is made by a patient for the practitioner to perform an abortion on the patient or to advise the patient about an abortion. In such a situation the practitioner must transfer the care of the patient to someone who the practitioner reasonably believes does not have a conscientious objection or advise the patient how to locate such a person. . . [Full text]