It is not right to force medics to act against their beliefs

A bill to cover conscientious objections in medicine would avoid losing valuable members of staff

The Times

Lord Mackay of Clashfern

A fortnight ago Baroness O’Loan’s Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill passed its second reading in the House of Lords. It now heads to committee stage where it will be scrutinised further.

A large campaign backing the bill has argued that it is necessary to legally safeguard the conscience of all medical professionals, many of whom do not currently have clear rights guaranteed in law. The bill marks out three areas where conscience rights would receive explicit protection, namely: the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment; activity under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; and in the context of abortion.

I spoke in support of the bill during the debate prior to the second reading, where many raised concerns about an “unreasonably broad” ability to conscientiously object to the provision of abortion. As far as I am concerned, there is a very simple analysis of this. . . [Full Text]

Church calls for Scottish Bill to back medics’ conscience rights

Scottish Catholic Observer

Amanda Connelly

The Catholic Church in Scotland has called for a bill that gives medical professionals the right to conscientiously object to medical procedures such as abortion.

The comments come after Baroness O’Loan’s new Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill for England and Wales, which looks to ensure conscience rights for medical professionals, had a second hearing in the House of Lords on Friday January 26.

“While the bill only applies to England and Wales, its progress should be of interest to people in Scotland, where hopefully a similar bill could be presented to the Scottish Parliament,” director of the Catholic Parliamentary Office Anthony Horan said. . . . [Full text]

 

‘Pro-life medics must have conscientious objection rights’

The Christian Institute

A Bill designed to afford better protections for medical professionals who conscientiously object to abortion has passed its second reading in the House of Lords.

The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill has been described as “important and timely”.

It seeks to ensure conscience objection rights for all medics and has now moved on to Committee Stage in the House of Lords. However, since it is a Private Member’s Bill, the Bill is not expected to pass. . . [Full Text]

Conscientious Objection: A Quick(ish) Answer

Journal of Medical Ethics

Mary Neal

The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) [HL] Bill, introduced by the crossbench peer Baroness O’Loan, received its second reading in the House of Lords on Friday 26th January and successfully proceeded to the committee stage.  In a post on this blog the following day, Iain posed a very reasonable question about clause 1(1)(a) of the Bill.  That clause would allow health professionals to refuse to be involved in “the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment”, and Iain asks how this can be compatible with existing civil and criminal law, under which it is unlawful to fail to withdraw treatment (including life-sustaining treatment) from a competent patient who no longer consents to it, or from a patient who lacks capacity if treatment is no longer in her best interests.

Before responding, I should declare an interest: I’m a spokesperson for the Free Conscience campaign, which supports the Bill.  I endorse the Bill’s premise that healthcare professionals should, in key areas of practice, benefit from statutory conscience rights that are both meaningful and effective. . . [Full Text]

Christian doctors and other medical staff opposing abortion face serious disadvantage, lords told

Press Association

Some doctors and midwives are suffering “serious disadvantage and discrimination” for their beliefs over abortion and other medical activities, peers have been told.

Baroness O’Loan also claimed young healthcare professionals are leaving the UK as they cannot carry out certain tasks, arguing there is a need to “reestablish legal protection” for medical conscientious objections.

The Crossbench peer’s Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill – which is being supported by the Free Conscience campaign – would apply to the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, human embryo research and activity linked to preparing, supporting or performing an abortion.

But her proposal split the Lords, with Labour’s Baroness Young of Old Scone among those voicing their opposition and describing it as “unnecessary and potentially dangerous” given existing protections. . .  [Full Text]

British conscience protection bill: second reading set for 26 January, 2018

The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL] 2017-19, introduced by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, will be debated during second reading in the British House of Lords on 26 January, 2018.  The proposal is a procedure-specific bill limited to activities associated with abortion, artificial reproduction and withdrawing life sustaining treatment.

Conscience protection bill: first reading in the House of Lords

The Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill [HL] 2017-19, introduced by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, was read for the first time in the British House of Lords.  First reading is a formality that begins the legislative process.  The proposal is a procedure-specific bill limited to activities associated with abortion, artificial reproduction and withdrawing life sustaining treatment.