The Scottish Justice Committee has proposed a new hate crime bill, which extends the current hate crime law covering race, to include other "protected characteristics" such as religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity. Christian and secular groups have criticized the bill as too broad and subjective, potentially interfering with freedom of speech and worship.
Proposed Equality Bills 96 and 97 are ostensibly aimed at protecting an extensive group of people from discrimination and cover areas such as schools, public religious symbols, and services and employment. The Bills would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, religious belief, state of health, and other “protected characteristics.” However, many sectors of society, including educators, professionals, business owners, health workers, parents, faith-based groups, and believers are concerned about the laws' overreach.
On March 2nd, member of the Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen faced a police interrogation because of a tweet she posted in June 2019. The tweet was directed at the leadership of her church and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event “Pride 2019”, accompanied by an image of a bible text.
Following plans first proposed in a government consultation last year, parents of children attending Welsh schools will no longer have a legal right to withdraw their children from compulsory relationships and sex education (RSE), as well as and religious education (RE) classes.
A new policy aimed at affirming parental authority in Spanish schools in Murcia has made national headlines in the country. The so-called 'Parental Pin' would oblige schools in the autonomous region of Murcia to seek the permission of parents for student participation in extra-curricular activities, including lessons and workshops on LGBT issues given by external speakers.
The European Parliament adopted a resolution which calls "for an end to violations against the freedom of Christians and other religious minorities to worship."
A Christian pastor and school caretaker, who received abuse and threats for a June 2019 tweet about LGBTQ Pride has taken legal action against the school which he felt forced to leave.
A High Court judge ruled in favor of an exclusion zone around a school in Birmingham permanent, preventing parents from protesting outside the grounds against the "No Outsiders" primary school programme that teaches about LGBT relationships. Many parents and activists claim the programme contradicts their faith and is not "age appropriate." A temporary exclusion zone was first imposed by the courts in the summer after months of protests outside Anderton Park Primary School by mostly Muslim parents. Birmingham City Council claimed that the order was sought from the courts over safety concerns.
On November 4th, the Finnish State General Prosecutor issued a press release announcing the launch of a pre-trial investigation into the publication and distribution of the 2004 pamphlet "Mieheksi ja naiseksi hän heidät loi" (in English, “Male and female He created them”), authored by Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish politician investigated by the police for a tweet in June 2019 quoting the Bible on the issue of homosexuality. Although the pamphlet was printed 15 years ago, it will be included in the case against the Christian politician because it is still “available online.” Räsänen, who served in the past as Minister of the Interior of the government of Finland, risks being accused under Section 10 of the Criminal Code of Finland for “ethnic agitation,” a crime punishable with a fine or prison.
Victory in international court bolsters protections for Christians who face life-threatening persecution in home countries.
An Iranian Christian woman living in the state of Hesse in Germany fears for her life if she is forced to return to Iran, due to strict anti-conversion laws. The woman known as "Mahsa" fled Iran and traveled to Germany in 2015, after an attempted arrest by the religious police for her conversion to Christianity. A recent decision by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) denying her asylum limits Mahsa's options going forward.
A Christian doctor has lost an employment tribunal case, where he alleged that the Department of Work and Pensions breached his freedom of thought, conscience and religion pursuant to the Equality Act. Disability assessor, Dr. David Mackereth claimed discrimination on part of the Department of Work and Pensions for failing to accommodate his refusal to use pronouns which did not correspond with the biological sex of clients. In its decision, the panel stated that Dr. Mackereth's belief that "the Bible teaches us that God made humans male or female" was "incompatible with human dignity."
Northern Ireland Minister received correspondence from more than 700 medical practitioners calling for conscience protections which would allow Christians and conscientious objectors within the profession the statutory right to refuse to participate in abortions.
After surviving a 2014 car accident which resulted in tetraplegic paralysis and blindness, Italian disc Jockey Fabiano Antoniani (DJ Fabo) traveled to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to end his life. The subsequent ruling of the Italian Constitutional Court over proceedings made against his accomplice now opens the door for the legalization of assisted suicide in Italy.
The Helsinki Police Department announced it had opened pre-trial investigations into Päivi Räsänen, a Christian Democrat MP, for her criticism of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland's (ELCF) participation in the Helsinki LGBT Pride events in June. She posted a photograph of Romans 1:24-26 from the New Testament on Facebook and wrote "How does the foundation of the church’s teachings, the Bible, fit with elevating sin and shame as reasons for pride?"
During the Court of Appeal hearing in the case of Felix Ngole, the University of Sheffield graduate student in social work who was dismissed from the program after he expressed his Christian views about marriage on Facebook, counsel for the university said no social worker should be allowed to express such views.
Dozens of its members stormed out of the "Extraordinary General Meeting" of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP) concerning the Irish abortion bill on December 2nd. The members protested that their concerns and objections were not taken seriously and the ICGP “refused to accept members’ motions from the floor.” The spokesperson for the group of approximately 80 doctors, Dr Andrew O'Regan, told the media: "We feel disrespected and not listened to by our own college board."
The Swiss Ständerat (Council of States) passed a law on November 28th adding discrimination based on sexual orientation to the existing criminal law prohibiting discrimination based on race, ethnicity, or religion. A broader version of the legislation, which included "gender identity" was passed by the Nationalrat (National Council) in October. Critics of the law noted that it could restrict freedom of expression and conscience, particularly for those who hold a traditional view of sexuality and marriage. Those who violate the law could face a prison sentence of up to three years.
In November, several parents of children who were required to participate in a "Proud to be me" pride parade at the Heavers Farm Primary School in South East London threatened legal action. Despite numerous complaints from parents, they were informed that no opt-outs would be allowed. Parents, including Izoduwa Adhedo, reported that they were treated dismissively and victimized following their complaints. "I wasn't even trying to stop the Pride event. I just wanted my child to receive an education, rather than indoctrination," Adhedo said.
An anti-hate crime campaign One Scotland, launched in September 2018 by the Scottish police and government, includes a poster directed toward religious believers which reads (in part), “Dear Bigots, you can’t spread your religious hatred here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland.” Other posters in the campaign were directed toward 'transphobes' and 'homophobes.' Critics of the campaign have noted that it singles out religious believers and calls them bigots without any qualification, and it is based on a political ideology which discriminates against those who hold traditional views.
A draft of abortion legislation provided that doctors, nurses, and midwives who have a conscientious objection to abortion must refer their patients to another provider who will perform the abortion. The National Association of GPs (NAGP) voted to "advocate for conscientious objection, without obligation to refer" and for an "opt-in" system, where medical professionals register their willingness to perform the procedure, rather than an "opt-out system.
An attack on the freedom of conscience of doctors and medical staff was launched on the 27th of September in the French parliament by socialist senators including former Minster of Families Laurence Rossignol. They want to remove the specific conscience clause for doctors covering abortions, because it is already covered by the Public Health Code.
Dr David Mackereth was deemed "unfit" to work as an assessor at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over his refusal to use transgender patient's preferred pronouns because of his view that gender is defined by biology and that God made humans male and female. The Equality Act identifies those undergo or who propose to undergo gender reassignment as part of a protected class. Failure to use preferred pronouns is interpreted as unlawful discrimination.
The High Court of England and Wales upheld a “buffer zone” imposed by Ealing Council, west London, around a Marie Stopes abortion clinic. High Court Judge Mark Turner said that Ealing Council in London was justified in creating a 328-foot exclusion zone to prevent any pro-life gathering or speech, including prayer, within 100 meters of the clinic. Two women plan to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.
Just days before the parliamentary vote on the election of a judge to the state constitutional court, the CDU, Greens, FDP and SSW withdrew their nomination of Hamburg lawyer and law professor Christian Winterhoff due to his conservative views on the sexual education of children.
Poland's Supreme Court ruled against a printer who refused to create a roll-up banner for an LGBT business group because he did not want to "promote" the gay rights movement, citing his Catholic religious beliefs. The Court held that although there may be legally justifiable reasons to refuse services based on religious objections, in this case they did not apply. UPDATE: In June 2019, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the law the printer was convicted under was unconstitutional, because punishment for refusing to provide services on the grounds of beliefs interfered with the service providers’ rights to act according to their conscience.
Member of the Irish Parliament, Carol Nolan TD was suspended from the left-wing Irish political party Sinn Féin for a period of three months after voting against a bill which would allow a Irish referendum on the Eighth Amendment which effectively bans abortion. Nolan said, "I voted according to my conscience and did not vote in favour of the legislation put before me as it was greatly at odds with my strong pro-life values."
The Canada Summer Jobs program funding application for 2018 requires that applicants sign a statement supporting, among other things, abortion and transgender rights in order to be eligible for funding. Hundreds of applicants, including Christian charities, pro-life groups, and churches have refused to sign the attestation because of the government's positions on moral issues.
France's highest administrative court refused to hear the appeal of a pharmacist who was sanctioned for refusing to sell an IUD.
On December 21, 2017 the London Assembly passed a motion calling on the mayor to “clarify the powers available to [police] to arrest and prosecute” pro-life campaigners who pray near abortion clinics, accusing them of “obstruction, intimidation and harassment” and “threatening behavior.”
On September 12, 2017, the European Parliament adopted a parliamentary report which charges “the denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, is a form of violence against women and girls” by a vote of 489 in favor, 114 opposed and 69 abstentions.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has suggested that all Church of Sweden priests be compelled to perform gay marriages, or "do something else." Currently the Swedish church holds the position that “no priest should be obliged to officiate at the wedding of a same-sex couple.” Löfven said priests who are unable to bless gay marriage are in the wrong vocation and that the Social Democrats are working to ensure that priests "will consecrate everyone."
Ellinor Grimmark and Linda Steen are two pro-life midwives who challenged their employment termination cases in court. Grimmark's case was taken to the Labor Court where she lost the case in April 2017. Due to this loss, she has been ordered pay all the court costs and received an invoice from the Jönköping County in the amount of 1 640 000 Swedish Kronor (€168 634). Linda Steen was denied an appeal in the Labor Court, but she will receive an invoice of 1.2 million Swedish Kronor (€123 391).
Prayers in reparation for the victims of abortion have been held in the chapel of the University Hospital (CHUV) in Lausanne on the 13th of every month for the past 10 years, organized by the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Pierre-Francois Leyvraz, the CEO of the hospital claimed not to have known about the events when the media contacted him. He informed the SSPX that they would no longer have access to the chapel and that the chapel will be closed on the 13th of each month to prevent the prayer meetings. He noted that abortion is legal and they will not permit people opposed to abortion to meet in the hospital chapel.
On May 19, 2017 the Lüneburg labor court ruled that the termination of Medical Clinic Director Markus Fröhling was unjustified. In February 2017, Fröhling was dismissed after publicly voicing his support for the former gynecology chief physician Thomas Börner, who declined to do abortions in his department. This support caused criticism by both the media and politicians.
The Swedish Labour Court upheld the judgments of the Discrimination Ombudsman and Tribunal Court in the case of Christian midwife, Ellinor Grimmark, who has been denied jobs at several clinics due to her refusal to carry out abortions and her outspoken stance on the matter.
The Swedish Court of Appeals concluded that a Jehovah's Witness was discriminated against on the basis of his religious convictions by the public Job Center (arbetsförmedlingen).
HazteOir.org painted a bus to circulate around Madrid with the words "Boys have penises, girls have vaginas. Don't be fooled. If you’re born a man, you’re a man. If you’re a woman, you’ll always be a woman" and publicized a pamphlet it created for parents: "Do you know what they want to teach your child at school? The laws of sexual indoctrination." The Madrid City Council authorized the seizure of the bus without a court order on March 2, 2017.
In May 2017, the British Pharmaceutical Council published new professional standards, stating that pharmacists would have to “take responsibility for ensuring that person-centred care is not compromised because of personal values and beliefs.” The previous conscience "opt-out" provisions were removed. Previously, a pharmacist who did not wish to issue an abortifacient drug could refer the patient to another colleague. In June 2017, the Council developed new guidance called “In practice: Guidance on religion, personal values and beliefs.” This guidance made clear that in some circumstances, pharmacists were expected to dispense a drug against his or her conscience.
On February 9, 2017, a Norwegian court ruled against Katarzyna Jachimowicz, a Polish Catholic doctor who sued after she was fired for refusing to insert intrauterine devices (IUDs). Jachimowicz v. the Municipality of Sauherad was the first case in Norway in which a medical professional sued over conscience rights.
The National Health Service has confirmed, in response to a question from a Member of Parliament, that it does not collect information on instances of discrimination against NHS staff on the basis of their faith.
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office ordered Susan Preston to stand down from hearing future family cases, after she declined to sit on a case involving same-sex parenting due to her personal views.
On the national Swedish Morning news, a journalist said: ”Those who are against abortion should be aborted. Retroactively.” And everybody in the panel laughed. Just before that, pictures of Christian midwife Ellinor Grimmark and her attorneys were shown on the screen. This occurred during the week Grimmark's lawyers defended her case in the Swedish Labour Court.
The UK government has proposed that all office holders and employees of the State swear an Oath of Allegiance to British Values that conflicts with traditional Christian teaching about sexuality.
French politician and former housing minister Christine Boutin was convicted of hate speech on Wednesday by the Court of Appeals of Paris for having called homosexuality an “abomination” in an interview with the political magazine Charles in March 2014.
Swedish midwife Linda Steen objected to assisting with abortions for reasons of conscience and as a consequence public hospitals denied her employment. She sued the Sörmland county council for violation of her freedom of conscience and religion. After losing the case, she was ordered to pay 1.2 million Swedish krona for the city's legal expenses.
The owners of Ashers Baking in Belfast lost their appeal of 2015 discrimination conviction for refusing to bake a cake ordered by homosexual activist Gareth Lee showing two Sesame Street characters and the message: “Support Gay Marriage.” The case was heard by the Supreme Court in May 2018.
The home, which belongs to The Salvation Army, had previously contested a Swiss law that allows assisted suicide to take place in charitable institutions, if requested by a patient. They challenged the legislation, saying that it conflicted with their religious beliefs and violated their freedom of conscience. Last week, federal judges rejected their complaint and said the only way the care home could avoid complying with the law was by giving up its charitable status.
The case concerned the authorities’ refusal to grant a Jehovah's Witness the status of conscientious objector and to allow him to do alternative civilian work instead of military service. The Court held that this was a violation of Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Three of the bishops are being threatened with a criminal complaint for having written and published a condemnation of Madrid’s new “Law of Integral Protection against LGTBIphobia and Discrimination for Reasons of Orientation and Sexual Identity.” The fourth bishop is being criminally investigated for expressing support for the statement of the first three.
Macy’s department store in New York fired a Catholic employee because he questioned their transgender bathroom policy, even though he told his employer he would enforce the policy.
British pro-life doctors and nurses face hostility, loss of advancement, and pressure to perform or refer for abortions despite legislation guaranteeing their right to conscientiously object, according to a parliamentary inquiry.
An order of nuns was ordered to pay 25,000 Euros to a teacher for discontinuing her employment based on the incompatibility of her sexual orientation with the Catholic school’s ethos.
Judges in Belgium fined a Catholic nursing home after it prevented doctors from giving a lethal injection to a 74-year-old lung cancer sufferer on its premises.
The Church of England has been accused of discriminating against a lesbian couple by refusing to conduct their wedding.
Katarzyna Jachimowicz, a Polish family physician working in Norway, became the first medical professional in the country fired because she exercised her conscience rights by refusing to administer abortifacients.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher warned that religious liberty is at stake in Australia's national elections because of the Green's proposed $32 million "Safe Schools" Program which would charge parents, schools, and churches with discrimination if they fail to conform.
In 2011, after initially agreeing to euthanasia for a 74-year-old cancer patient, a Catholic nursing home denied the physician access to the patient. The patient had to be taken home where she could receive the doctor.
Piers Morgan will not face sanctions after asking a Christian who opposed same-sex marriage whether he was a "homophobe".
A Christian magistrate Richard Page has been removed from office by the Lord Chancellor after sharing his personal conviction in a media interview that there is not enough evidence to show that placing children in the care of same-sex couples is in their best interest.
A Sheffield University social work postgraduate student, Felix Ngole, was expelled from his course for posting on his Facebook page that homosexual activity is against the teaching of the Bible.
Pro-LGBT group Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) has launched a petition demanding that children as young as five learn about homosexual, bisexual and transgender issues, and this week it addressed the Scottish Parliament’s Public Petitions Committee.
Voicing criticism of homosexuality “might be breaking the law”, a British values monitor claimed.
The Zurich offices of the Swiss Evangelische Volkspartei (EVP) as well as the Swiss Evangelical Alliance and humanitarian organisations Tearfund and Opportunity were attacked by vandals.
Just hours before a large rally in support of Kim Davis was scheduled to begin, the judge who jailed her for refusing to violate her Christian beliefs ordered her release. Ms. Davis was jailed on September 3rd for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The following day, her deputies began issuing licenses in her absence after five of the six clerks who work for her swore under oath that they could comply with the court’s order to issue them. Ms. Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, and refused to permit her deputies to do the same, because her name was printed on those licenses, and she said to issue them would violate her conscience. In his order to release Ms. Davis, the judge warned her not to interfere with her deputies issuing the marriage licenses, or she could risk “sanctions” again. Ms. Davis’s attorney said "Today Kim Davis is a free woman but her conscience did not change ... to get freedom." He noted that Ms. Davis would return to work, but he said she would "not violate her conscience."
Kim Davis, a county clerk in Kentucky, has been jailed for "contempt of court" after defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, a 10 year old boy was forcefully removed from his home and forced to attend sex education without his parents’ consent.
Mona Sahlin, the national coordinator against violent extremism at the Swedish Ministry of Justice, stated during a panel discussion on religion and democracy that Ellinor Grimmark, a Christian midwife who refuses to participate in abortion, was an "extreme religious practitioner who is fighting in a similar way as do the people fighting for the Islamic state.”
The Ministry of Health in Croatia vowed to ensure abortion in all public hospitals, regardless of doctors' conscientious objection. According to the Ministry every public hospital must have a team that performs abortions. This policy came as the result of the discovery of five hospitals, in which gynecologists refused to perform abortions based on their right to conscientious objection.
New Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor has reiterated her call for the introduction of a conscience clause, which would enable medical staff to refuse to carry out abortions.
71-years-old Bryan Barkley was dismissed from the British Red Cross after his one-man protest in front of his church holding a placard saying “No same sex marriage” and “No redefinition of marriage”. His views were found incompatible with the principles of impartiality and neutrality of Red Cross.
A Christian registrar was dismissed for indicating she would not be willing to perform same-sex marriages. Finally, she was reinstated after a successful appeal in which it was ruled that her employer had failed to take a “balanced view” of her religious beliefs.
A Polish doctor was fired from his position as the director of Holy Family Hospital in Warsaw for refusing to perform an abortion on grounds of his conscience and for not referring the mother to a doctor who would do it. Dr. Chazan was dismissed by the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Robert Oscar Lopez, a teacher for Literature and Classics in Los Angeles, documented 300 cases of overboarding responses of gay activists to opponents. These incidents mainly took place in Europe and the US. Some are directed against Christians, others are more of a political nature. Some cases might seem self-inflicted, many do not.
British doctors and nurses who refuse to dispense the morning-after pill on grounds of conscience will be unable to receive a specialist diploma in sexual health care. Guidance issued by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare states that medical professionals who, for religious reasons, refuse to hand out "emergency" contraception cannot receive the qualification. The diploma is considered to represent the "gold standard" of sexual health care training.
Sarah Mbuyi, 30 year-old nursery worker from north London will bring her case to court as she claims she was fired on the grounds of her religious beliefs because she said that she would have scruples about reading children’s stories involving same-sex couples.
In January 2014 a Swedish nurse has filed a complaint of religious discrimination with Sweden’s equality commission after the hospital where she interned as a midwife sacked her for refusing to assist in abortions. The Ombudsperson for Discrimination concluded that Mrs Grimmark has not been discriminated because her conscientious objection stood against the ”availability of abortion care” and the ”protection of health” of patients requiring abortion.
Cardinal Fernando Sebastian of Málaga commented in an interview with the local newspaper SUR that homosexuality “can be normalised with treatment”. Consequently the Málaga Provincial Prosecutor's Office opened criminal investigations against him. His comment was understood to undermine Spanish legislation which protects the fundamental rights of dignity and non-discrimination in Articles 18 and 14 of the Constitution and therefore to constitute a "clear incitement to hatred and discrimination".
A Swedish midwife did not get a job she was promised because of her “wrong view” regarding abortion. The woman who worked at Highland Hospital in Eksjoe was promised summer jobs and other temporary positions after completing further training in January 2014. However, after explaining to the department manager that she was not able to perform abortions because of her faith, she was told she was no longer welcome to take the jobs.
The Irish government has told a Catholic hospital that there will be no opting out of the new law legalising abortion, and which requires hospitals to do the procedure. The health minister was responding to comments by a board member of Dublin’s Mater Misericordiae University Hospital that the hospital would not be complying with the new abortion law.
A British homosexual couple feels „forced to take Christians into a court to get them to recognise” them. The Marriage Act contains legal provisions to protect churches which chose not to conduct same-sex weddings from being sued.
Lucinda Creighton, European Affairs Minister of Ireland had to resign after voting against the Government on an amendment to the abortion bill. The so-called “whip” does not permit to deviate from party policy. Mrs. Creighton however felt that she could not compromise on matters of “life and death”.
A gathering of “Les Veilleurs”, a peaceful manifestation group in favour of the traditional family of was disturbed by shouting from students and radical LGBT activists. Anti-Catholic insults were yelled as “Les Veilleurs” gathered to pray and sing together as they do every Tuesday evening before the prefecture in Montpellier.
Medical doctors in Norway must be willing to refer their patients to abortion clinics even if this is against their conscience.
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.”