Conscientious Objection Impeded for French Medical Doctors and Students

Country: France

Date of incident: May 21, 2013

Category: Government Restrictions

Attack against: Morals

Area of case: Workplace

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.

Also a medical student cannot - in theory - be compelled to participate in an abortion, but again, the reality is different. Jean, 22, told the Observatory: “Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to graduate without doing an abortion”. Amanda adds: “The road to become a gynecologist as a Christian is a real obstacle course.” The problem is particularly striking when it comes to students wishing to become obstetrical-gynecologists. Paul states: “For me and my Catholic friends, as medical students, the question of our consciences holds us back tremendously. Those of us who are drawn to gynecology in the end decide to go for other areas of medicine because becoming a Christian gynecologist is a real minefield. It feels as if one can be expelled at any time or be forced to do an abortion.”

Source and further information: The Observatory's Report 2012 on Legal Restrictions Effecting Christians in Europe