Summary The article presents information on a proliferation in conscience clause legislation to federal and state laws in the U.S. The move is stated to be pitting individual religious autonomy against the public interest, mainly in the areas of education and health care.
Extract Beware of arguments that appear to accept that CO is just about our ‘personal values’; it isn’t. Beware of relying on our fallen consciences rather than on God’s Word. Beware of resorting to the safety of guidelines and laws which may be changed. By God’s grace, we have the right to CO made explicit in our professional guidance, given concrete examples in the law, supported by a European assembly. We can argue from history or personal example in favour of it. But in the end, we need to be prepared to stand for Christ, and the experience of those before us suggests that this will be costly.
Abstract Medically trained English philosopher Dr. John Locke (1632-1704) held that freedom of conscience is the basis of individual rights, thereby limiting intrusion by the state into the lives of its citizens.
Askin J. Physicians need freedom of conscience. Medical Post. 2008;11-12
Extract I will argue that we should prefer narrow conscience clauses because they (1) respect patients’ right to informed consent and (2) reduce risks to vulnerable populations. I will then propose and defend an example of what a narrow conscience clause might look like. The clause I propose allows: (1) any person (2) directly involved in providing (3) nonemergency medical treatment or service (4) to refuse to provide the treatment or service in question, so long as the person (5) objects on moral or religious grounds and (6) cooperates in the transfer or referral of the patient to a willing provider. Before I turn to these arguments, a brief overview of the genesis and evolution of conscience clauses in medicine is in order.
Extract After Roman Catholic leaders issued strong criticism about its trampling of religious freedom, the American Medical Association approved a watered-down measure supporting continued community access to a full range of reproductive services following hospital consolidations. The AMA’s amended resolution stopped short of saying Catholic hospitals should have to perform all reproductive health procedures. . . The AMA instead upheld its policy that physicians and hospitals not be forced to perform services that violate their moral principles. . .