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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
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Spanish Constitution, Article 16

". . . this right [conscientious objection] may be derived from the general protection of freedom of religion under Article 16 of the Constitution . . . the Constitutional Court considered that health care practitioners may invoke Article 16 of the Constitution in order to justify refusing to perform certain operations which would violate their religious beliefs (STC 53/1985, judgment of 26 August, 1988). This has been confirmed in later judgments by the same court, delivered on 16 and 23 January, 1998."*

Autonomous Communities

Spain has fifty provinces. Following the adoption of a new constitution, the country was also divided into 17 autonomous communities and two African autonomous cities. The autonomous communities have their own parliaments and regional governments, though the authority of the communities is not uniform. This results in a degree of legislative and executive autonomy that is unusual in member states of the European Union.

Cantabiran flag Cantabria

Ley de Cantabria 7/2001, de 19 de diciembre, de Ordenacion Farmaceutica de Cantabria (BOC de 27 de dicimbre)

". . . limiting the right to conscientious objection of pharmacologists to situations where this does not threaten the right of the patients."*

Cantabiran flag La Rioja

Law 8/1998 (16 June, 1998) On Pharmacologists, Article 5(10) (Ley 8/1998, de 16 de junio, de ordenacion farmaceutica de la Communidad Autonoma de La Rioja (BOLR de 20 de junio)

". . . recognizes the right to conscientious objection of the pharmacologists in fulfilment of their professional duties, unless the exercise of this right would threaten the health of the patient."*

Cantabiran flag Valencia

Law 1/2003 (28 January, 2003) on the Rights and Information of the Patient, Article 17(2) (Ley 1/2003, de 28 de enero, de la Generalitat, de Derechos e Informacion al Paciente de la Comunidad Valenciana (DOGV de 31 de enero)

". . . while it recognizes the right for each patient to adopt a 'life will' according to which he or she may express the will not to be artificially kept alive in certain circumstances where life-saving medical treatment would have to be delivered, also allows for a conscientious objection clause benefitting health care practitioners . . . which they may invoke in order not to have to be instrumental in executing that will. However, the provision also provides an obligation for the public administration, where such conscientious objection is raised, to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the will of the patient is respected."*

*Precis in English from EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights, Opinion No. 4-2005: The Right to Conscientious Objection and the Conclusion by EU Member States of Concordats with the Holy See (14 December, 2005), p. 13-14