Are medical professions “free”?

Catholic Voices Comment

[William Kent] On 26th January a new Bill was discussed in the House of Lords – the Conscientious Objection (Medical Activities) Bill. This Bill, which proposes to clarify the role of conscience in the medical profession, will continue its progression through parliament over the next few months. The time is right therefore for all of us to reflect on the place of conscientious objection within the field of healthcare and to contribute to the public debate that this new Bill will hopefully stimulate.

The sort of questions that form the context to this newly proposed legislation are: “does a healthcare professional have the right to refuse a procedure if they are morally opposed to it?” or “should a nurse or GP be allowed to avoid any involvement with providing abortions or facilitating the end-of-life if they deem it immoral”? Such lines of inquiry have an ever-growing relevance. In 2014…

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