Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Assault on Conscientious Objection to Abortion

International Planned Parenthood (IPPF) has claimed that a milestone decision on conscientious objection and abortion, has been delivered by the Council of Europe (COE) Committee on Social Rights, against Italy. The decision upholds the claim made by IPPF that, regulations relating to health personnel’s conscientious objection violate the right to health protection.

According to an IPPF statement the Committee’s decision supports their view that conscientious objection cannot stand in the way of women receiving the reproductive healthcare services guaranteed by Italian law. The Italian State  they say is obliged to make sure women get access to abortion services – as and when required.

The COE Parliamentary Assembley voted down a report and resolution in 2010 known as the Mc’Cafferty report that attacked Conscientious objection and thereby affirmed that:
 “no person and no hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion [...]”.
This new initiative by IPPF and the decision of the Committee, in addition to placing pressure on Italy to change its laws, appears to be their response to the Council of Europe Parliamentary decision on the Mc Cafferty report which had halted their plans for forcing medical personnel to carry out and participate in, the killing of unborn babies regardless of their strongly held convictions.

We are investigating the legal implications of the Committee’s decision and will report further on this in due course.