Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude
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South Australia

Advanced Care Directives Bill 2012

What follows are the parts of  the Advanced Care Directives Bill 2012 that pertain to protection of freedom of conscience.  Note the following:

  • Section 3 defines health care and medical treatment in such a way that the terms include nutrition and hydration.
  • Section 6 limits patients to refusing health care and medical treatment (as defined).  They are not permitted to demand health care or medical treatment (as defined), which is provided solely at the discretion of the health care provider.
  • Section 12 prevents patients from making demands for actions that would be illegal or contrary to a professional standards or code of conduct.
  • Section 1
    • Section 12(3) excludes institutional or denominational standards or ethical codes from this saving, so that they can be overridden by patient demands.
  • Section 37 requires conscientious objectors to facilitate the provision of the services to which they object.  

As ov 30 November, 2012, the bill had passed the House of Assembly and was before the Legislative Council, the upper house in the South Australian Parliament.

37-Conscientious objection

(1) Despite any other provision of this Act, a health practitioner may refuse to comply with a provision of an advance care directive (whether binding or non-binding) on conscientious grounds.

(2) However, if a health practitioner refuses to comply with a provision of an advance
care directive under subsection (1), he or she must take reasonable steps to-

(a) provide the person who gave the advance care directive, or a substitute
decision-maker appointed under the advance care directive, the name and
contact information of another health practitioner practising in the relevant
field who the health practitioner reasonably believes will not refuse to comply
with the provision on conscientious grounds; and

(b) if the person or the substitute decision-maker so requires, provide a referral to that health practitioner.