Conscientious Objection Defined Too Narrowly

Country: Spain

Date of incident: May 21, 2013

Category: Government Restrictions

Attack against: Morals

Area of case: Governmental



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).

“Directly” is defined narrowly and does not include steps leading to the abortion, such as referral or preparation (Manuel Resa Alcalá vs. Gerencia del Área Sanitaria Norte de Málaga, March 2001). Pharmacists are required to keep in stock and order without delay all legal medication, disregarding freedom of conscience.
These Spanish laws fall short of the requirements of internationally recognized human rights. To fully protect freedom of conscience, religion and belief, the right to conscientious objections must be widened.
Source and further information: The Observatory's Report 2012 on Legal Restrictions Effecting Christians in Europe