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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Legal Commentary

Western Defense of Conscience

Interview With Law Professor Rafael Navarro-Valls

Interviewer: Inma Álvarez

MADRID, Spain, APRIL 5, 2011 ( The right to conscientious objection -- in areas ranging from health care to education -- is one of the most important legal battles being fought in the West, according to a law professor and author on the subject.

Spain is a case in point -- with a struggle to secure state recognition of a person's right to refuse something morally unjust in issues such as school curricula, the new abortion law, or the sale of the abortifacient pill, among others.

On this question, Spanish jurist Rafael Navarro Valls, a law professor and regular contributor to ZENIT's Spanish-language edition, has recently published a book, together with Javier Martínez Torrón, titled "Conflictos entre conciencia y ley. Las objeciones de conciencia" (Conflicts between Conscience and Law: Conscientious Objections).[Book summary in English]

ZENIT spoke with the author about the nature and limits of conscientious objection.

Interview #1:

[English] [Español]

  • two ways to judicially elaborate freedom of conscience
  • centrality of the human person
  • legal stanards for conscientious objection
  • distinctions in the exercise of freedom of conscience with reference to social impact
  • importance of accommodation
  • limitation of state interference
  • conscientious objections to use of taxes
Interview #2:

[English] [Español]

  • conscientious objection and erroneous conscience.
  • natural law, classic theory of justice, Nuremberg trials, western judicial culture
  • Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolution 1763 (2010)
  • Spanish laws and constitution
  • eugenic screening
  • steps in conscientious objection
  • in Spain, recommends "Guía de Objeción de Conciencia Sanitaria al Aborto" (Guide for Conscientious Objection to Therapeutic Abortion)


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