Tell the World Medical Association to respect conscience rights
The World Medical Association is currently debating a new International Code of Medical Ethics that seriously restricts the right to conscientious objection.
The wording of the proposed draft would read as follows:
“Physicians have an ethical obligation to minimize interruptions in patient care. Conscientious objection should only be considered if the individual patient is not discriminated against or disadvantaged, the patient's health is not in jeopardy, and continuity of care without delay is ensured through effective and timely referral to another qualified physician."
In other words, conscientious objection would be limited:
- If it is considered that not performing an abortion is discrimination, it would be outside the Ethical Code
- If it is considered that not performing an abortion is an attack on health understood as the state of well-being
- An objector is obliged to refer their patient to another practitioner who does not object, in other words, collaborate with what they object to
- The burden of proof will be shifted on to the medical practitioner to justify their objection. In countries that have legalised euthanasia or assisted suicide, this will result in a physician being forced to refer a patient to someone who will end their life.
The World Medical Association has indicated that this controversial paragraph will be the subject of debate later and given a deadline of 28th May to respond.
We think they should hear your voice now.
Here is the proposed new code of Medical Ethics:
Proposed international code of medical ethics threatens to undermine doctors' rights to conscientious objection: