The Irish Cabinet has reached a consensus on the draft of the "Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill 2013". The law prohibits objections on the basis of one’s conscience: “no institution, organisation or third party shall refuse to provide a lawful termination of pregnancy to a woman on grounds of conscientious objection”. Apart from this clause, the law that will regulate abortion in Ireland is rather restrictive compared to the legislation concerning abortion of other European countries.
In Austria, pharmacists do not enjoy an explicit right to conscientious objection. The so called “morning after pill” may be obtained either by prescription or in case of emergency without a prescription. Besides other functions, the taking of the morning after pill may result in an early abortion. The Austrian criminal code contains a conscience clause for medical staff with regard to abortion. But for pharmacists there is no such clause. It is therefore unclear, whether pharmacists have a right to conscientious objection or not. The professional representation of pharmacists says there isn’t. This body argues that there is a legal obligation to contract; and that not delivering would be an act of non-assistance to a person in danger. Therefore, pharmacists or employees of pharmacies do not dare to withhold the abortifacient drug for conscientious reasons. It is necessary to introduce a law in Austria which explicitly recognises the freedom of conscience of pharmacists.
In 2007, a law was passed requiring a pharmacist to sell any type of legal drugs. This position was modified in a pharmaceutical law on the 15th of October 2010. Article 32 now states that without prejudice of the rights of the patient, the continuity of the caring and the execution of the order, the pharmacist has the right to refuse delivery according to his conscience and refer the client immediately to another pharmacist, where the drug will be available, otherwise he needs to deliver the drug himself. Even though these changes constitute an improvement, the duty to refer to someone else who will make the objectionable drug available, is problematic to the objector.
Registrars of birth, marriages and deaths are not entitled to refer to their conscience to refuse to register a gay marriage as a civil act. Owners of wedding locations cannot opt out of facilitating gay marriages in their places.
As of November 2011 the so-called “emergency pill” no longer needed a prescription making Postinor-2 and Escapelle available for women over the age of 16. The Czech Pharmaceutics Chamber published a “recommended policy” discussing the ethical view on the issue: “Due to the pill’s effects, some pharmacist might have personal reservations to sell it. Those pharmacists whose consciences do not allow to sell abortifacients can deny selling the pill only in such situation when there is not a problem for the buyer to get the pill from another pharmacist. If there is no possibility for the buyer to purchase the pill from another pharmacist in reasonable time and distance, the pharmacist is obliged to sell the pill no matter what his conscience requires.” A group of pharmacists signed a petition against this restriction of their freedom of conscience.
The French law says: “A doctor is never required to perform an abortion (...). No midwife, nurse or physician assistant, whoever he is, can be forced to participate in an abortion.” But the reality is different: the organisation of the hospitals, the lack of staff, the schedules of the surgery departments and the pressure on the medical staff make a refusal on the grounds of freedom of conscience difficult.
In French law conscientious objection for pharmacists is merely non-existent. Pharmacists are compelled to stock and sell the so-called “morning-after” or abortion pill. Moreover, in France, in the case of ‘passive euthanasia’ (i.e. a voluntary interruption of treatment), the physician has the right to be replaced by another doctor , but nothing in the law mentions the case of the other medical professionals, including nurses who often find themselves in very difficult situations. The prospects are not good: the very principle of conscientious objection is at risk. Eva Joly, French member of the European Parliament, recently said: "I am absolutely for France to abolish the clause of conscientious objection for doctors."
The code of conduct for pharmacists requires that all pharmacists sell everything that is lawfully available in the state. This includes the so-called ‘morning after pill’. The Irish constitution has strong religious freedom protections, but if a pharmacist is unwilling to sell the morning after pill he would have to take his employer to court and plead for his constitutional rights. This could be very expensive and therefore most pharmacists with an objection to abortifacients in practice either sell them or quit their job.
A civil registrar could go to jail for up to six months for refusing to officiate at the ceremony of, for example, a same-sex couple. While churches are not forced to actually perform such ceremonies directly, they might face fines if they refuse to rent out halls for same-sex couples who wanted to use it for their reception following a civil partnership.
Marriage commissioners in a district of Amsterdam must undergo annual evaluations to ensure they support same-sex “marriage” after it was revealed that two commissioners had refused to officiate at the ceremonies. Since 2007, the government in Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West district has only employed commissioners who agree to perform same-sex “marriages,” and officials apparently believed the district was free of “conscientious objectors.”
Pharmaceutical Law requires public pharmacies to provide medical products and medical devices in the quantity and range needed by the local population. The current law does not provide for the possibility to refuse sale of drugs except in very specific cases, eg. in doubt of authenticity of the prescription. It is found that the type of drug or pharmacological properties do not constitute grounds for refusal. State authorities may revoke the license to operate a pharmacy if the pharmacy does not comply to these demands. There is a list of cases in which pharmacist can refuse to sell the drug. In order to ensure real respect for freedom of conscience, the relevant statutory provisions protecting the right to conscientious objection should be introduced in the Pharmaceutical Law.
While the abortion law in Poland is rather restrictive, it does not contain an explicit provision for “conscientious objection” to any of the medical staff involved in legal abortion.
The Act on Sexual and Reproductive Health N° 2/2010 regulates the wilful interruption of pregnancy. It grants a right to conscientious objection only to those health professionals who are required to participate directly in an abortion procedure. (Article 12 §2, Article 19).
Registrars are not allowed to refuse to conduct same-sex union procedures or ceremonies. Caso Judge (Juez de Paz) of the town of Pinto was forced to resign because he refused to officiate homosexual unions.
There is no conscientious objection for health care workers in Sweden, in fact there is a total absence of legal statutes that protects the freedom of conscience for health care workers, midwifes, nurses, physicians, medical students or pharmacists. Health care workers, who are reprimanded, repositioned or put at disadvantage for refusing to perform procedures such as abortions, claim that their rights under article 9 of the Convention in compliance with the European Council resolution are infringed.
Section 4 of the Abortion Act 1967 provides a conscientious objection to participation in abortion procedures. However, the scope of this conscientious objection clause is routinely being challenged. In 2012, the General Medical Council released its Draft Guidance on Personal Beliefs and Medical Practice, which stated that doctors must “be prepared to set aside their personal beliefs” in relation to a variety of controversial areas, including prescribing contraceptives – including the abortifacient morning-after-pill, referring women for abortions and performing “gender reassignment surgery.”
There have been a number of cases in the past few years that have followed a similar pattern in that no exemption will be made where a Christian has a conscientious objection in the workplace because he or she cannot endorse, condone or approve homosexual conduct.
Without exception, businesses are required under the Equal Status Act to offer goods and services to anyone who asks for them and the business cannot ‘discriminate’ on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status, etc. While churches are not forced to perform same-sex ceremonies, they might face fines if they do not rent out halls for receptions following a civil partnership ceremony.
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination on several grounds, including sexual orientation, in the area of the provision of goods and services. While there is a vital exemption to the general prohibition against discrimination for religious organisations when providing goods or services, this can only be relied upon in limited circumstances and is not wide enough to cover many situations.
The Christian owner of a printing firm in Northern Ireland faced being hauled to court over his refusal to print a gay magazine. Nick Williamson says printing the material would go against his religious beliefs. But the editor of MyGayZine, Danny Toner, approached a solicitor and referred the matter to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
The rights of homosexual couples trumped those of Christians, according to a ruling of the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The European Court of Human Rights dismissed the Christian applicant Gary McFarlane and left the balancing out of rights to national appreciation.
Lillian Ladele, a Christian registrar, was disciplined because of her stance on civil partnerships. The European Court of Human Rights dismissed Ladele’s application on January 15th, 2013 and left the balancing out of rights to the national authorities.
The British Parliamentary Undersecretary of State, Liz Truss, states she was not able to rule out the possibility that teachers refusing to use stories or textbooks favoring same sex- marriage face disciplinary consequences.
Christian bed and breakfast owners Mike and Susanne Wilkinson lost a lawsuit on their married-couples-only policy and were fined over 3.500 pounds for denying a double room to a homosexual couple. The Wilkinson's Bed&Breakfast is located in their own house where they live with their children. The courts apply a "zero tolerance" policy on grounds of "unlawful discrimination".
While the law does not protect the freedom of conscience for German pharmacists, a letter from the ministry, dated 1986 upholds it. Legally, the letter is not binding. The uncertainty of whether this letter would be followed by today’s courts constitutes a difficulty in the ethical considerations and the freedom of acting according to one’s conscience of pharmacists in Germany.
If gay marriage is legalized, teachers and others could be forced out of their jobs if they fail to endorse such unions, a top lawyer says. Parents would have no right to insist that their children are withdrawn from school lessons across the curriculum that approve of same-sex marriage. Chaplains who work in the NHS or the Armed Forces could be dismissed if they preach that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The liberal party VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie) tabled a proposal in the second chamber of the parliament to prohibit the use of conscientious objection for registrars with regard to conducting gay marriages. There seems to be a majority in the parliament to support this proposal. The topic is expected to be debated until the end of the year 2012.
On the 4th of July 2012 an amendment of the law on public officers was proposed by the members Koser Kaya and Van Hijum to the Dutch Parliament: It calls for the dismissal of registrars for marriages, births and deaths who refuse to perform same-sex marriages on conscientious grounds - if not sufficient other tasks could be found for him or her. The proposal also seeks to establish a mandatory training of students studying to be a registrar on performing same-sex marriages.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church is forced to marry same sex couples after vote of Danish Parliament.
Medical Student, Carolin, 24: “I had to do an internship in a gynecology department, and I can tell you that when there is only one nurse for the whole department, you better forget about your conscientious objection.”
In January 2012, Scotland's largest health board was taken to court by two Catholic nurses from Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, Mary Doogan and Connie Wood, who were denied conscientious objection with regard to abortion procedures. Judgment was handed down on February 29th: the midwives have been told that they must accept the decision of their hospital management and that they must oversee other midwives performing abortions. In January 2013, they took the case to the European Court of Human Rights. The UK supreme court upheld the judgement in December 2014.
An improvement of the national health service law in February 2012 did not fully grant conscientious objection to pharmacists: The law still compels the objecting pharmacists to find a willing employee of the same pharmacy or another pharmacist to sell the "morning-after-pill".
Maria Casado, who holds the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics at the University of Barcelona calls for a national registry of doctors who will not perform abortions, in order to “improve” women’s access to “pregnancy termination.”
A group of nine firemen from Glasgow, including several Roman Catholics, were disciplined by their employers for refusing to march in a ‘gay pride’ rally. Strathclyde Fire Board apologized after legal steps were taken.
A church-going former mayor in Warwickshire who declined to take part in a Halloween event has been found in breach of equality rules for upsetting pagans.
French pharmacists are required by law to sell the „morning after pill“ which causes an early abortion. The absence of conscientious objection is a violation of freedom of religion and conscience.
A group of youth who were marching as part of the anti-capitalist movement "Occupy Rome", detoured from the main stream of the parade, and made their way into Saints Marcellino and Pietro Parish, located between Labicana and Merulana streets. The youth, with their heads covered and handing sticks, broke into the parish house and took the statue of the Immaculate Conception and a crucifix. They carried the sacred icons outside the parish premises to the street, where both were destroyed and the debriefs left on the street.
At a UN meeting, delegates from Britain, Denmark, Spain and other countries called for Ireland to legalize abortion - with Denmark calling for legislation to allow for abortion on demand, constituting pressure seeking to undermine the Christian convictions of the majority of the Irish population.
According to new guidelines from the Dutch national doctors association, doctors with moral objections to euthanasia have “a moral and professional duty” to refer patients to another doctor willing to euthanize them.
American embassy officials under the Obama administration complained that the Catholic Church teaching is a major source of “homophobia” in the heavily Catholic country, according to private cables published by Wikileaks.
A hospital in London that recently attempted to force two Christian nurses to commit abortions has backed down after legal threats using the Equality Act to protect the nurses pro-life beliefs.
New guidelines issued by the UK pharmaceutical regulatory board tends towards stripping pharmacists of their right to conscientious objection with regard to refusing the sale of the morning-after pill, an abortive device.
On May 31st, 2011, Catholic Care of the Diocese of Leeds has applied for leave to appeal the latest decision against it in the long-running case sparked by the Charity Commission’s refusal to allow it to prevent gay couples from using its adoption service. The appeal was granted in August 2011.
Poland's life-protecting abortion law, which is inspired by its strong Christian identity, is under attack by international and supranational bodies. This disrespect of national sovereignty targets Christian aspects and is therefore a case of intolerance against Christians in the area of morals.
Marriage commissioners in a district of Amsterdam will be forced to undergo annual evaluations to ensure they support same-sex “marriage” after revelations that two commissioners had refused to officiate at the ceremonies. Since 2007, the government in Amsterdam’s Nieuw-West district has only employed commissioners who agree to perform same-sex “marriages,” and officials apparently believed the district was free of “conscientious objectors.”
(ongoing) Lesley Pilkington was suspended by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (“BACP”) for giving therapy to a homosexual man (an under-cover freelance journalist) who pretended to be a Christian wishing to stop practicing homosexuality. A key witness has been threatened by homosexual activists, causing hearing to be adjourned.
The Swedish Parliament voted to campaign against a European resolution, which reiterates the right to conscientious objection for health professionals who do not want to perform abortions.
A Spanish general practitioner from Antequera who opposes abortion was denied the right to claim conscientious objection in cases of abortion. The MD argues that his beliefs conflict with abortion advice or referral to women seeking pregnancy termination.
Irene Wiens, mother of twelve, served a 43-day jail sentence in Germany for refusing to enroll her children in sex-ed classes, deemed by her husband and herself to teach a permissive view of human sexuality. An appeal to the European Court of Human Rights has been filed.
The windows of a pharmacy in Berlin’s Neukölln district were shattered because the owner does not sell the so called “morning-after-pill” due to his catholic convictions.
Experienced foster parents lose rights to foster due to religious beliefs on homosexuality. Appeal to High Court lost.
Dr Boyle runs a fertility treatment service along Catholic guidelines at Galway clinic, which is a Catholic hospital. He was summoned before the Fitness to Practice Committee of the Medical Council in 2010 because he would not accept a cohabiting couple for treatment because of his belief on traditional marriage.
A conservative party councillor in Bristol has been “voluntarily suspended” and asked by the party to meet with homosexualist activists after he objected to appearances by a homosexualist campaigner and actor, Sir Ian McKellen, at local schools.
Mother of an executed prisoner cannot pray at her son's tomb. It is unclear whether he had seen a priest before execution.
Former British MP Christine McCafferty urged the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to recommend limitations to conscientious objection when it comes to abortion. The draft report contained a limitation of freedom of conscience to individuals. Objecting individuals would have faced restrictions and blacklisting. The draft, aiming at discriminating against Christians, was voted down on October 7th.
Administration interprets freedom of conscience so narrowly that only those directly involved in the objected surgical act of abortion are allowed to invoke the right to "conscientious objection".
Spain’s government is systematically violating the conscience rights of health care workers on abortion, says a group of legal experts that is now taking action to restore those rights.
Lead politicians backing the bill refuse to allow a conscience clause; opposition parties claim that the objections of Christians are being ignored.
The postal worker Emmanuel N. was fired because he refused to distribute erotic flyers on the grounds of his Christian faith.
Christian parents arrested and imprisoned up to 40 days when they refused to allow their children to participate in a mandatory sexual education program.
375 Christian parents lodge complaint with European Court of Human Rights as the mandatory school curriculum is antithetical to their moral convictions. After five years of public debate and much engagement on the side of the parents, the subject was abolished on Jan 31, 2012.
Over 300 parents and children filed a lawsuit with the European Court of Human Rights on the grounds that Spain’s compulsory “Education in Citizenship” classes promote sexual promiscuity and abortion and provide materials that mock Christianity. In 2012, the Spanish government stopped the programme.
A mother of eight was detained on February 17th to spend eight days in a prison. She had refused to send her nine-year-old-son to school on grounds of her objection to sex education.
Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of Washington has ended its foster-care program and will end its adoption program as well. At issue was the right of the archdiocese to reject gay marriage and remain a city contractor; a bill legalizing same-sex marriage recently passed in the District.
The Christian Institute published a report called "Marginalising Christians", cataloguing numerous cases of Christians being sidelined by public bodies, popular media, employers and facing barriers to public funding.
Judge Fernando Calamita sentenced to 10 years of occupational ban and fined for delaying the adoption of a little girl by the lesbian partner of her mother as a form of conscientious objection.
A new Irish initiative that would grant rights to homosexual couples contains no conscience clause and lays out fines and potential prison sentences for registrars who refuse to carry out same-sex civil partnerships. Concerns from church leaders disregarded as Bill passes Second Stage consideration.
Liberal Harvard scholar Edward Green strongly attacked in public for agreeing with Pope in saying that the distribution of condoms will not prevent the spread of HIV/Aids.
67% of French Catholic parents say that public schools do not respect the freedom of conscience of their children.
Brighton Council requests care home for elderly Christians to ask its residents about their sexual orientation and cuts funding when rejected.
A Christian magistrate lost his second and final appeal in a suit in which he claimed his employer had discriminated against him because of his religious conviction that adoptive children ought not to be placed with homosexuals.
As a result of refusing by the Earl of Devon to allow a homosexual couple to hold a civil partnership ceremony, the local Council revoked the licence for hosting all civil ceremonies in the Castle. The Earl of Devon is a devout Christian, who lives with his family in the event location at stake in Powderham Castle.
New gay rights law forces the Catholic Church to pull out of offering adoption services in the UK.
The Western Isles Council´s registrars have received hate mail and death threats because they refused, on moral grounds, to conduct civil partnership ceremonies. The registrars said that same sex unions would be conducted in fulfilment of the law, but no wedding-alike ceremony would be provided. Gay groups fired back indicating they would follow a human rights suit against the council to ensure gay couples on the Isles the same „rights“ as those elsewhere.
The La Favorita restaurant in Madrid has been fined 12,000 € by the City Hall for refusing to serve a gay wedding party, according to the El Mundo newspaper. The council considers that the owners have committed a ‘serious infraction’ and is guilty of discrimination.
Ruth Kelly, a devout Roman Catholic was made Minister for Women and Equality. Gay rights campaigners reacted with disbelief and stirred up a worrying debate whether a Catholic was fit for such a government position.
The Superior Tribunal of Madrid ruled against the right to conscientious objection to registry officers who requested to be exempted, and/or replaced by a colleague, in cases of same-sex marriage. The Tribunal understands that public servants swear full obedience to the law and are to abide by it. "The absolute submission to the law cannot be dismissed nor justified in any case, mostly when a private belief is at stake" confirmed the Tribunal.
The Sefton (North West of England) Council workers, Norah Ellis and Dawn Jackson, refused to take part in adoptions for gay parents as not compatible with the Christian concept of family. As a consequence they have been threatened with dismissal for not doing their job.
(1995/1996) Several instances have been collected in which staff were denied the right to conscientious objection and lost their jobs.