The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief in Favor of a Right to Conscientious Objection in the Context of Abortion and Euthanasia

On the occasion of a conference organized by the ECLJ at UN headquarters in Geneva, Professor Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, spoke in favor of the right of medical staff to refuse to participate in performing an abortion or euthanasia. He mentioned the case of a midwife who was harshly sentenced in Sweden for having refused to participate in an abortion and was forced into “professional exile.” He considers that this right, based on freedom of conscience, should extend to the medical staff directly involved in the matter, as long as their objection is well-founded on a strong and deep conviction. The Special Rapporteur indicated that the right to conscientious objection is not only based on the right to “freedom of conscience”, but also on Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which recognizes that all human beings “are endowed with reason and conscience.” Panelists highlighted the inconsistency of countries that recognize the right of physicians, midwives and nurses to object, but don’t extend the same right to pharmacists. Physicians and pharmacists provide different means of abortion, but in both cases they are directly involved Panelists also emphasized that an employee cannot be required to renounce his or her freedom of conscience and religion when he or she accepts a job. Persons who are committed to respect for human life from its beginning should not be denied a medical profession, such as midwife or pharmacist.
Source and to watch videos from the conference: ECLJ