On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, but Few Doctors Will Perform Them

NYT, 16 January 2016
Author: Gaia Pianigiani
“Her doctor’s refusal — she said she was a conscientious objector to Italy’s law that makes abortion legal up to 90 days — set off a desperate scramble to find a doctor who would help her. At one hospital, doctors advised her to get a psychiatrist’s note saying she had threatened to kill herself, so that she could extend the legal time limit. At another, a doctor suggested that she just wait.”
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Right to die in Canada: respecting the wishes of physician conscientious objectors

CMAJ, early release online 23 November 2015
Author:  John Fletcher
“On Feb. 6, 2016, it is likely to become legal in Canada for a physician to aid a patient in dying. For physicians who believe this is a compassionate change in the law, the remaining questions of how to go about this are administrative. Their convictions and the law would be in alignment. However, 63% of Canadian physicians say they would refuse to provide medical aid in dying and so may find their convictions at odds with the law.1”
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‘Conscientious objectors’ vaccination loophole closes for childcare centres, kindergartens

SMH, 16 August 2015
Author: Patrick Hatch
“Anti-vaxers” will not be able to send their children to childcare centres or kindergarten if they refuse to have them immunised, under new rules to be introduced in Victoria.The state government says it will expand its “no jab, no play” rules so that all children will need to be fully vaccinated before they can attend childcare or kindergarten as of January 1 next year.”
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Conscientious objection: personal and professional ethics in the public square

Med Law Rev 2015 23: 200-220
Author: Jonathan Montgomery
“English law expects health professionals to have, and act upon, consciences, but formal conscience clauses are not the main legal recognition of this expectation. Rather, they should be regarded as an anomaly with roots in very specific political settlements between society and health professions, whose legitimacy is historically contingent, and as an aspect of the ‘price’ to be paid for securing services. There are sound reasons for the protection of conscientious discretion as an aspect of professional identify, but specific rights of personal conscientious objection are difficult to reconcile with legitimate public expectations of comprehensive and non-discriminatory services.”
Find abstract here.

Voices of discontent? Conscience, compromise, and assisted dying

Med Law Rev 2015 23: 242-262
Authors: Richard Huxtable and Alexandra Mullock
“If some form of assisted dying is to be legalised, we are likely to hear voices of discontent, not least from the medical profession and some of its members, who might be expected to provide the service. The profession generally favours a position of opposition, premised on an ethic of ‘caring not killing’, which might be said to convey its ‘professional conscience’. There will, of course, also be individual conscientious objectors.”
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Opinions on conscientious objection to induced abortion among Finnish medical and nursing students and professionals

BMC Medical Ethics 2015, 16:17
Authors: Petteri Nieminen, Saara Lappalainen, Pauliina Ristimäki, Markku Myllykangas, Anne-Mari Mustonen
“Conscientious objection (CO) to participating in induced abortion is not present in the Finnish health care system or legislation unlike in many other European countries. We conducted a questionnaire survey with the 1st- and the last-year medical and nursing students and professionals including several aspects of the abortion process and their relation to CO. While the respondents mostly seemed to consider the continuation of adequate services important if CO is introduced, the viewpoint was often focused on the staff and surgical abortion procedure instead of the patients. The issue proved to be complex, which should be taken into consideration for legislation.”
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Toward accommodating physicians’ conscientious objections: an argument for public disclosure

J Med Ethics 2015;41:224-228 doi:10.1136/medethics-2013-101731
Author: Thomas D Harter
“This paper aims to demonstrate how public disclosure can be used to balance physicians’ conscientious objections with their professional obligations to patients – specifically respect for patient autonomy and informed consent. It is argued here that physicians should be permitted to exercise conscientious objections, but that they have a professional obligation to provide advance notification to patients about those objections.”
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Vaccine Exemptions and the Church-State Problem

The Hastings Center Bioethics Forum, 23 February 2015
Author: Dena S. Davis
“The current measles outbreak has brought public attention to the ease with which vaccine exemptions are available. As the media continually inform us, 48 states allow for religious exemptions, while 19 states also offer exemptions based on some sort of personal philosophy.”
Find article here.