All cases

Filtered by: Freedom of Conscience

Counsel for University of Sheffield: Christian Views Should Not be Expressed in Public Forum

March 13, 2019, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Doctors Claim their Concerns about Abortion Legislation in Ireland Not Taken Seriously

December 3, 2018, Ireland

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."

Freedom of Conscience

Anti-Discrimination Law Expanded in Switzerland

November 28, 2018, Switzerland

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Scottish Campaign calls Believers 'Bigots'

October 22, 2018, United Kingdom

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.

Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Anti-Abortion GPs Argue Against Being Forced to Refer Patients

October 3, 2018, Ireland

The current draft of abortion legislation provides 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.

Freedom of Conscience

Abortion-Specific Conscience Clause Targeted by France Socialists

September 27, 2018, France

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 cancel the specific conscience clause for doctors covering abortions, because it is already covered by the Public Health Code.

Freedom of Conscience

Government Fired Doctor for View that Gender is Determined by Biology

July 8, 2018, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

High Court Upholds "Buffer Zones" around Abortion Clinic; Appeal Filed

July 2, 2018, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Coalition Withdraws CDU Candidate for Constitutional Court Due to Criticism of Sex Ed

June 29, 2018, Germany

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Polish Supreme Court Rules against Printer

June 14, 2018, Poland

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Militant Equality Laws

Sinn Féin Politician Suspended for Voting against Abortion Referendum

March 21, 2018, Ireland

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."

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Canada Summer Jobs Funding Program Becomes Religious Freedom and Conscience Rights Controversy

March 20, 2018, Canada

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Pharmacist’s Conscience Rights Appeal Dismissed

December 22, 2017, France

France's highest administrative court refused to hear the appeal of a pharmacist who was sanctioned for refusing to sell an IUD.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

London Assembly Passed Motion to Clarify Police Power in "Buffer Zones"

December 21, 2017, United Kingdom

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.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

European Parliament Classifies Laws against Abortion as “Violence Against Women and Girls”

September 12, 2017, European Institutions (EU, ECHR, et.al.)

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Swedish Prime Minister: "Priests Should Perform Same-Sex Marriages

June 24, 2017, Sweden

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."

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Swedish Pro-Life Midwives Fined

May 29, 2017, Sweden

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).

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

Reparation Prayers for Abortion Banned by Hospital Management

May 27, 2017, Switzerland

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Medical Director's Dismissal Reversed

May 20, 2017, Germany

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Swedish Labour Court Rules Against Pro-Life Midwife

April 12, 2017, Sweden

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Court Finds Discrimination against Jehovah's Witness

March 22, 2017, Sweden

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).

Freedom of Conscience

Anti-Gender Ideology Campaign Censored

March 3, 2017, Spain

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

General Pharmaceutical Council Launches Guidance on "Religion, Personal Values and Beliefs in Pharmacy Practice"

February 22, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Norwegian Court Ruled Against Catholic Doctor

February 9, 2017, Norway

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience

NHS does not Record Religious Discrimination

February 2, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Magistrate Disciplined for Refusing to Hear Same Sex Parenting Case

January 30, 2017, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Swedish Pro-Life Midwife Publicly Bullied by Journalists

January 28, 2017, Sweden

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.

Freedom of Conscience Insult or Incitement

UK Considering Secularist Oath of Allegiance to British Values

December 21, 2016, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

French Politician Fined for Using Word from Bible to Describe Homosexuality

November 4, 2016, France

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Christian Midwife Loses Case Against County Council

November 4, 2016, Sweden

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.

Access to Justice and Legal Services Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Christian Bakers Lose Appeal

October 24, 2016, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Christian Nursing Home Ordered to Allow Assisted Suicide on Premises

October 7, 2016, Switzerland

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.

Freedom of Conscience

ECtHR Finds Greece Violated Rights of Conscientious Objector

September 15, 2016, Greece

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Four Spanish Bishops Threatened with Prosecution for Criticism of LGBT law

August 31, 2016, Spain

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Department Store Fires Catholic for His Faith

July 21, 2016, United States

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Parliamentary Inquiry Finds UK Doctors Risk Losing Jobs For Refusing To Perform Abortion

July 21, 2016, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Order of Nuns Fined for Firing Lesbian Teacher

July 14, 2016, Italy

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Belgian Nursing Home Fined €6,000 for Refusing to Allow Euthanasia on Premises

June 30, 2016, Belgium

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Church of England Accused of Discrimination

June 16, 2016, United Kingdom

The Church of England has been accused of discriminating against a lesbian couple by refusing to conduct their wedding.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Court Case begins for Norwegian Doctor Fired for Exercising Right to Conscience

June 1, 2016, Norway

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Green Party a Threat to Religious Liberty in Australia

May 21, 2016, International

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws Rights of Parents

Catholic Nursing Home to Stand Trial for Denying Active Euthanasia

May 18, 2016, Belgium

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Television Presenter Calls Christian a "Homophobe"; Receives No Sanctions

April 12, 2016, United Kingdom

Piers Morgan will not face sanctions after asking a Christian who opposed same-sex marriage whether he was a "homophobe".

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Insult or Incitement

Magistrate Removed from Office, Suspended from NHS Trust, for Christian Belief in Traditional Family

March 29, 2016, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Negative Stereotyping

Christian Postgraduate Student Expelled for Opposing Gay Marriage

February 27, 2016, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Proposed Mandatory LGBT Education in Scotland Would Violate Parents' Rights & Put Teachers' Jobs in Jeopardy

November 1, 2015, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

British "Values Monitor" Says Opposing Homosexuality Could Be a Crime

September 18, 2015, United Kingdom

Voicing criticism of homosexuality “might be breaking the law”, a British values monitor claimed.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Swiss Evangelical Party's Office Attacked for Supporting Pro-Life Demonstration

September 16, 2015, Switzerland

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.

Freedom of Association and Assembly Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Vandalism (form of hate crime)

Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis Released from Jail

September 8, 2015, United States

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."

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Clerk Jailed for Refusing to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

September 3, 2015, United States

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Student Physically Forced to Attend Sex Education

June 22, 2015, Germany

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Rights of Parents

Abortion Opponents Compared to Jihadists

February 9, 2015, Sweden

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.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Insult or Incitement Negative Stereotyping

Conscientious Objection At Stake After Five Public Hospitals Refuse to Perform Abortions

January 31, 2015, Croatia

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Abortion Issue Meets Opposition in Sweden

November 14, 2014, Sweden

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Pensioner Dismissed from Red Cross After Protesting Same-sex Marriage

November 1, 2014, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Marriage Registrar Dismissed for Refusing to Perform Same-sex Ceremony But Subsequently Reinstated

September 1, 2014, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Doctor Fired in Abortion Incident for Refusal to Perform or Refer

July 8, 2014, Poland

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

US Teacher Documents 300 Cases of Anti-Christian Acts by Gay Activists

July 1, 2014, International

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.

Contractual Freedom Equality Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Christian Conscientious Objectors to Morning-After-Pill Barred from Sexual Health Care Diploma

May 1, 2014, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Christian Worker in London Claims She was Fired for Refusing to Read Children’s Books About Gay Couples

April 30, 2014, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion

Swedish Nurse Fired for Refusing to Assist in Abortion

April 10, 2014, Sweden

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Criminal Investigations Opened Against Cardinal For Mentioning Treatment Options for Homosexuals

February 5, 2014, Spain

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".

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion

Midwife Lost Job Because of Her Views on Abortion

January 13, 2014, Sweden

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Government Says No Opt Out Of Performing Abortions for Faith-Based Hospitals

August 12, 2013, Ireland

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.

Contractual Freedom Freedom of Conscience

British Gay Couple to Legally Challenge Church for Not Offering Gay Marriage

August 2, 2013, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

European Affairs Minister Forced to Resign

July 11, 2013, Ireland

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”.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression

Gathering Disturbed by Insults and Shouting in Montpellier

June 13, 2013, France

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Expression Freedom of Religion Hate Incident Insult or Incitement

Doctors are Denied the Right to Conscientious Objection

June 4, 2013, Norway

Medical doctors in Norway must be willing to refer their patients to abortion clinics even if this is against their conscience.

Freedom of Conscience

Conscientious Objection Undermined in Ireland's Proposed Abortion Law

June 1, 2013, Ireland

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Pharmacists Do Not Enjoy an Explicit Right to Conscientious Objection

May 21, 2013, Austria

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Duty of Referral Creates Conscience Dilemma for Pharmacists

May 21, 2013, Belgium

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Registrars and Wedding Place Owners Not Allowed to Opt Out of Gay Civil Ceremonies

May 21, 2013, Belgium

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Pharmacists Conscientious Objection Limited

May 21, 2013, Czech Republic

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Conscientious Objection Impeded for French Medical Doctors and Students

May 21, 2013, France

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.

Freedom of Conscience

No Conscientious Objection for Pharmacists

May 21, 2013, France

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."

Freedom of Conscience

Pharmacists Forced to Sell "Morning-After-Pill" Despite Conscientious Objection

May 21, 2013, Ireland

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Civil Registrars Forced to Officiate Same Sex Ceremonies

May 21, 2013, Ireland

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Marriage Commissioners in Amsterdam Evaluated on Support for Same-Sex Marriage

May 21, 2013, Netherlands

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.”

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Statutory Protection of Freedom of Conscience for Pharmacists Missing

May 21, 2013, Poland

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.

Freedom of Conscience

No Explicit Provision for Conscientious Objection

May 21, 2013, Poland

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Conscientious Objection Defined Too Narrowly

May 21, 2013, Spain

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).

Freedom of Conscience

Registrars Not Allowed to Refuse to Conduct Same-Sex Ceremonies

May 21, 2013, Spain

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

No Conscientious Objection of Health Care Workers

May 21, 2013, Sweden

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Conscientious Objection Clause Routinely Challenged

May 21, 2013, United Kingdom

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.”

Freedom of Conscience

No Conscientious Objection with Regard to Affirming Homosexuality in the Workplace

May 21, 2013, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Businesses Forced to Deliver Services Against Their Will

May 21, 2013, Ireland

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Equality Act 2010 Causes Closure of Christian Businesses

May 21, 2013, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

(Northern Ireland) Printing Firm to be Sued for Refusing to Print Gay Magazine

April 5, 2013, United Kingdom

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.

Contractual Freedom Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Christian Counsellors Freedom of Conscience Trumped by Rights of Homosexuals

January 15, 2013, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Registrar’s Wish Not to Register Homosexual Unions Rejected

January 15, 2013, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

New Legislation on Gay Marriage Might Get Teachers Fired

November 18, 2012, United Kingdom

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience Rights of Parents

Christian B&B Owners Fined for Denying a Room to a Homosexual Couple

October 22, 2012, United Kingdom

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".

Freedom of Conscience Insult or Incitement Militant Equality Laws

Pharmacists' Freedom of Conscience Uncertain

September 19, 2012, Germany

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Teachers and Others Threatened With Dismissal if They Didn’t Endorse Gay Marriage

September 12, 2012, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience Rights of Parents

Party Proposes Explicit Ban of Conscientious Objection for Registrars with regard to Gay Marriage

July 4, 2012, Netherlands

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.

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

Legislative Proposal Seeks to Limit Conscientious Objection for Registrars

July 4, 2012, Netherlands

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.

Freedom of Conscience Militant Equality Laws

Danish Church Obliged to Perform Same Sex ‘Marriages’

June 15, 2012, Denmark

The Evangelical Lutheran Church is forced to marry same sex couples after vote of Danish Parliament.

Freedom of Conscience Freedom of Religion Militant Equality Laws

Conscientious Objection Loses Ground

May 24, 2012, France

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.”

Exclusion (of individuals or ideas) Freedom of Conscience

(Scotland) No Right to Conscientious Objection for Midwives

February 29, 2012, United Kingdom

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.

Freedom of Conscience

Pharmacists' Objection of Conscience Still Curtailed

February 29, 2012, Czech Republic

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".

Freedom of Conscience