Protection of conscience bill passes in Indiana

Sean Murphy*

Indiana Senate Bill 201, proposed by Senator Liz Brown, passed the Indian Senate by a vote of 38-8 and will be sent to Goveror Eric Holcomb for signature. Existing Indiana law protects freedom of conscience for physicians, nurses and institutional employees in relation to surgical abortion. Bill 201 amends the statute to include medical abortion and extends protection to physician assistants and pharmacists.

Doctors threaten legal action in abortion services row

The Business Post

Francesca Comyn

The issue of GP-led abortion services has proved highly contentious for various reasons including conscientious objection, workload and an existing services contract perceived by many to be sub-standard

The professional body for GPs is facing the threat of legal action from its members if it does not row back on its refusal to hold and extraordinary general meeting on the provision of abortion services. . .[Full text]

GPs are ignoring democracy on abortion issues

Doctors’ group is demanding members fall into line without expressing their concerns

The Irish Times

Breda O’Brien

The board of the Irish College of General Practitioners, the professional body for general practice in Ireland, has refused for the second time requests from some of its members to hold an emergency general meeting to debate motions on abortion.  

Why is the ICGP so afraid of democracy? This is only the latest twist in a long-running saga that began when Simon Harris announced in a radio interview that abortion services were to be GP-led.

This was the first that GPs had heard of it. They were already over-worked, highly stressed and leaving the profession in droves. Many were stunned that there had been absolutely no consultation with GPs. . . [Full text]

Bishops condemn bills to expand abortion, repeal conscience protection

Catholic News Service

Jacob Comello

The bishops from Illinois’ six dioceses March 28 made a decisive stand against state legislators’ efforts to remove all abortion restrictions in the state, as well as the right of physicians to object to the practice.

At a news conference livestreamed from the Illinois Capitol in Springfield, Catholic Conference of Illinois Director Bob Gilligan told reporters on no uncertain terms that “we are here today to oppose these bills.”

. . . The Senate and House bills Gilligan is referring to are S.B. 1942 and H.B. 2495. Either, if passed, would greatly alter current Illinois law. . . . [Full text]

Right to Conscientious Objection to Abortion Burning Issue in Croatia

Total Croatia News


ZAGREB, March 27, 2019 – Health Minister Milan Kujundžić on Wednesday called for compliance with the legislation when it comes to honouring the right to conscientious objection concerning the issue of abortion, while at the same time that procedure should be made available.

“Anything that is in contravention with ethical and moral principles deserves condemnation,” Kujundžić said, and commenting on the case of a woman in Dubrovnik who underwent an abortion procedure without anaesthesia due to the anaesthesiologist’s refusal to participate in the procedure, the minister said that the hospital should have engaged other doctors in such cases when their colleagues invoke the conscientious objection clause which allows them to refuse to participate in the termination of pregnancy. . . [Full text]

Archbishop supports doctor who refused to perform legal abortion

Correo del Sur

César Vale

Caution: Machine assisted translation of César Vale,”Arzobispo respalda a médico que se negó a practicar aborto legal.” Correo del Sur, 25 Marzo, 2019.

The archbishop of Sucre, Monsignor Jesus Juarez, backed the doctor of the National Health Fund (CNS) who refused to perform an abortion based on his claim of conscientious objection, and was subjected to administrative discipline.

“I would like to give my full support to all the doctors who really bet on life, first because life is the best gift that God makes humanity, and second, life is the first right that every person has, and also the right of the unborn, ” said Juarez.

In past days, the CNS of Sucre decided to suspend the doctor J.N.M., interim chief of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service of the Obrero Hospital “Dr. Jaime Mendoza “, and to begin an administrative disciplinary proceeding for refusing to perform the legal termination of the pregnancy of citizen P.A.A.

Bolivian doctor to be prosecuted for refusing to perform an abortion

LifeSite News

Jeanne Smits

LA PAZ, Bolivia, March 25, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A Bolivian doctor has been suspended by that country’s National Health Fund (Caja Nacional de Salud) for having refused to perform an abortion on a woman pregnant with an anencephalic child. “N.M.,” as he is known, will also be prosecuted before an administrative court, together with the former director of the Jaime Mendoza Workers’ Hospital in Sucre, where the refusal took place.

Abortion is illegal in Bolivia except in cases of rape, incest, danger to the mother’s health, or a lethal malformation of the unborn child.

It was this last case that was invoked by a woman from Cochabamba in February of last year after medical examinations revealed that her baby had a serious congenital malformation. She was five months pregnant. . . [Full text]

Introducing abortion: The story so far

The Medical Independent

Catherine Reilly

The introduction of routine abortion services up to 12 weeks of pregnancy has represented a seismic change in Irish reproductive healthcare.

However, the political rush to commence services in January has led to some access problems. Moreover, medical bodies needed to scramble to finalise clinical guidance on time and sections of the Medical Council’s ethical guide, including on conscientious objection, are still under review.

A spokesperson for the Medical Council told the Medical Independent (MI) that revised wording will be “brought to the Council for approval followed by publication in April”. Conscientious objection and the definition of referral are matters of huge contention to pro-choice and pro-life doctors, contributing to what some describe as a fracturing of general practice, where most terminations are taking place (see panel on page 5). . . .[Full text]

Head of GPs says Simon Harris has antagonised pro-life GPs in an “incredibly unhelpful” way

The Life Institute

Dr Maitiú Ó Tuathail, President of National Association of GPs has criticised an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon for antagonising pro-life GPs.

In an article in this week’s Medical Independent on the issue of conscientious objection, Dr Ó Tuathail said:

“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister for Health Simon Harris made comments that were incredibly unhelpful. I really felt that the Minister was antagonising pro-life GPs in the rhetoric that has been coming from him, which is really regrettable and really unfortunate.” . . . [Full text]

Doctor who failed to comply suspended

The department head refused to provide a legal termination of pregnancy

Correo del Sur

Caution: Machine assisted translation of “Suspenden a médico que incumplió fallo: El Galeno Se Negó a Practiar Una Interrupción Legal del Embarazo.” Correo del Sur, 21 Marzo, 2019.

The Acting Chief of the Gynecology and Obstetrics Service of the Hospital Obrero Jaime Mendoza was suspended from his duties for not attending a pregnant woman who asked to terminate a high-risk pregnancy, in accordance with a constitutional decision.

The doctor, who justified his action with conscientious objection, failed to comply with the constitutional ruling that orders the legal interruption of pregnancy when it endangers the health or life of the woman. The Ombudsman’s Office learned about and followed up on the case since the middle of last year.

In response to an Ombudsman’s resolution issued last week requesting to establish civil, criminal or administrative action against those who failed to comply with the ruling, the National Health Fund (CNS) of Sucre decided to suspend the physician and announced a similar process against the former director of the hospital.

Because of lethal congenital malformations, the pregnant woman requested the legal termination at five months of pregnancy, which was denied, so she had to go to another health center.