1. The practice of medicine is a service to human dignity and doctors must adhere to the highest standards of professional competence in treating, protecting and advocating for patients.
2. In the course of their work on behalf of patients, doctors have the right not to participate in procedures which, in conscience, they believe to be wrong.
3. Doctors should not, by action or omission, deliberately shorten a patient’s life. Doctors must respect a patient’s fully-informed decision to refuse life-sustaining treatment or to request withdrawal of medical treatment.
4. Doctors have the right to refuse applications for referral for treatments to which they object in conscience.
5. Doctors have an obligation to provide care in emergencies, even if the condition results from a procedure to which the doctor has a conscientious objection.
6. Doctors have an obligation to explain the reasons for their conscientious objection with clarity and courtesy to patients and colleagues. Patients have a right to see another doctor and to be given impartial information as to how they can exercise that right. [Full text]