House of Commons
EDM #861
Tabled 24 January 2018
2017-19 Session
That this House notes the Conscientious Objection (Medical Professionals) Bill by Baroness O'Loan; further notes Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to . . . manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance, and the consequent upholding of conscience rights by the European Court of Human Rights (see Bayatyan v. Armenia (2011)); notes the existence of conscience clauses in the Abortion Act 1967 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 and the UK’s honourable history of accommodating conscientious objection; notes the findings of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Conscience in Abortion Provision (2016), which found that there are medical professionals who find themselves subject to discrimination due to their beliefs; considers that conscience also applies to areas such as the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and the provision of contragestive drugs; is concerned that other medical professionals now have little to no formal statutory protections, a situation which threatens the inclusion of a significant number of people in our society and diversity within the medical profession; recognises that a significant proportion of the public support reform that will strengthen conscientious objection for medical professionals, as a recent ComRes poll (May, 2017) has demonstrated; calls on the Government to give time to the Conscientious Objection (Medical Professionals) Bill, and consider how best to uphold the rights of conscientious objection for those who work tirelessly to provide compassionate care for vulnerable patients.