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.”