(Thesis) The Legal Revolution Against the Accommodation of Religion: The Secular Age v. The Sexular Age

Barry W Bussey

Abrahamic Religions

Abstract
This is a study about the law’s accommodation of religious practice and the brewing revolution within the legal profession against that accommodation. The revolution is especially evident, though not exclusively so, in sexual equality claims vis-à-vis religion. Originally, the study asked, “Why has religion been given special status in the law?”and “Should that status continue?”As a result of intense, multiyear research, I have come to recognize that there is within the legal profession a strident movement to remove from the law the traditional accommodation of religion. To explain my findings, I have used the work of Thomas S. Kuhn1as a theoretical framework.

Keywords:

Bussey BW. (Thesis) The Legal Revolution Against the Accommodation of Religion: The Secular Age v. The Sexular Age. University of Leiden. 2019;. Available from: https://www.academia.edu/40452980/The_legal_revolution_against_the_accommodation_of_religion_the_secular_age_versus_the_sexular_age

The Market View on conscientious objection: Overvalued

Robert F Card

Journal of Medical Ethics
Journal of Medical Ethics

Abstract
Ancell and Sinnott-Armstrong argue that medical providers possess wide freedoms to determine the scope of their practice, and therefore, prohibiting almost any conscientious objections is a bad idea. They maintain that we could create an acceptable system on the whole which even grants accommodations to discriminatory refusals by healthcare professionals. Their argument is premised upon applying a free market mechanism to conscientious objections in medicine, yet I argue their Market View possesses a number of absurd and troubling implications. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the fundamental logic of their main argument is flawed. Thinkers who wish to address the issues raised in this debate in general or by discriminatory conscience objections in particular should avoid the Market View and instead envisage theories that assess the reasons underlying conscientious refusals in medicine.


Card RF. The Market View on conscientious objection: Overvalued. J Med Ethics 2019 Mar;45(3):168-172. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2018-105173

Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law: clinical implementation as the next challenge

Ben P. White, Lindy Willmott, Eliana Close

The Medical Journal of Australia
The Medical Journal of Australia

Extract
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017 (Vic) (VAD Act) will become operational on 19 June, 2019. . . . While some have written on the scope of, and reaction to, the VAD legislation, there has been very little commentary on its implementation. Yet, important choices must be made about translating these laws into clinical practice. These choices have major implications for doctors and other health professionals (including those who choose not to facilitate VAD), patients, hospitals and other health providers. This article considers some key challenges in implementing Victoria’s VAD legislation.


White BP, Willmott L, Close E. Victoria’s voluntary assisted dying law: clinical implementation as the next challenge. Med J Australia. 2019 Mar;210(5):207-209.e1

Legal and ethical implications of defining an optimum means of achieving unconsciousness in assisted dying

S. Sinmyee V. J. Pandit J. M. Pascual A. Dahan T. Heidegger G. Kreienbühl D. A. Lubarsky J. J. Pandit

Anaesthesia
Anaesthesia

Author Summary
A decision by a society to sanction assisted dying in any form should logically go hand-in-hand with defining the acceptable method(s). Assisted dying is legal in several countries and we have reviewed the methods commonly used, contrasting these with an analysis of capital punishment in the USA. We expected that, since a common humane aim is to achieve unconsciousness at the point of death, which then occurs rapidly without pain or distress, there might be a single technique being used.

However, the considerable heterogeneity in methods suggests that an optimum method of achieving unconsciousness remains undefined. In voluntary assisted dying (in some US states and European countries), the common method to induce unconsciousness appears to be self-administered barbiturate ingestion, with death resulting slowly from asphyxia due to cardiorespiratory depression. Physician-administered injections (a combination of general anaesthetic and neuromuscular blockade) are an option in Dutch guidelines. Hypoxic methods involving helium rebreathing have also been reported.

The method of capital punishment (USA) resembles the Dutch injection technique, but specific drugs, doses and monitoring employed vary. However, for all these forms of assisted dying, there appears to be a relatively high incidence of vomiting (up to 10%), prolongation of death (up to 7 days), and re-awakening from coma (up to 4%), constituting failure of unconsciousness. This raises a concern that some deaths may be inhumane, and we have used lessons from the most recent studies of accidental awareness during anaesthesia to describe an optimal means that could better achieve unconsciousness. We found that the very act of defining an ‘optimum’ itself has important implications for ethics and the law.


Sinmyee S, Pandit VJ, Pascual JM, Dahan A, Heidegger T, Kreienbühl G, Lubarsky DA, Pandit JJ. Legal and ethical implications of defining an optimum means of achieving unconsciousness in assisted dying. Anaesthesia. 2019 May;74(5): 630-637.

Conscientious objection to abortion, the law and its implementation in Victoria, Australia: perspectives of abortion service providers

Louise Anne Keogh, Lynn Gillam, Marie Bismark, Kathleen McNamee, Amy Webster, Christine Bayly, Danielle Newton

BMC Medical Ethics
BMC Medical Ethics

Abstract
Background: In Victoria, Australia, the law regulating abortion was reformed in 2008, and a clause (‘Section 8’) was introduced requiring doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion to refer women to another provider. This study reports the views of abortion experts on the operation of Section 8 of the Abortion Law Reform Act in Victoria.

Methods: Nineteen semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with purposively selected Victorian abortion experts in 2015. Interviews explored the impact of abortion law reform on service provision, including the understanding and implementation of Section 8. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.

Results: The majority of participants described Section 8 as a mechanism to protect women’s right to abortion, rather than a mechanism to protect doctors’ rights. All agreed that most doctors would not let moral or religious beliefs impact on their patients, and yet all could detail negative experiences related to Section 8. The negative experiences arose because doctors had: directly contravened the law by not referring; attempted to make women feel guilty; attempted to delay women’s access; or claimed an objection for reasons other than conscience. Use or misuse of conscientious objection by Government telephone staff, pharmacists, institutions, and political groups was also reported.

Conclusion: Some doctors are not complying with Section 8, with adverse effects on access to care for some women. Further research is needed to inform strategies for improving compliance with the law in order to facilitate timely access to abortion services.


Keogh LA, Gillam L, Bismark M, McNamee K, Webster A, Bayly C, Newton D. Conscientious objection to abortion, the law and its implementation in Victoria, Australia: perspectives of abortion service providers. BMC Medical Ethics201920:11.

How the Canadian Medical Association found a third way to support all its members on assisted dying

Jeff Blackmer

British Medical Journal, BMJ
British Medical Journal

Extract
The CMA recognised that its policy needed to evolve: if the law were to change, the organisation would support all its members, regardless of their views, in deciding whether to participate in MAID. This was a watershed moment, enabling the association to lead national discussions and to give evidence before Canada’s Supreme Court. . . .The court referenced the CMA’s position to provide equal support for conscientious participation and conscientious objection, stating, “Nothing . . . would compel physicians to provide assistance in dying. The declaration simply renders the criminal prohibition invalid.”.


Blackmer J. How the Canadian Medical Association found a third way to support all its members on assisted dying. BMJ (Online). 2019;364.

The Challenges of Conscience in a World of Compromise

Amy J. Sepinwall

Nomos LIX:Compromise
Nomos LIX:Compromise

Abstract
The process of crafting and passing legislation might be thought to be the locus of compromise par excellence.1 Yet, where the law that results impinges upon moral or religious belief or practice, the issue of compromise arises anew, in both senses of the word: Individuals who oppose the law on moral or religious grounds believe that their political obedience will compromise them in a fundamental way. Their plea for an exemption from the objectionable legal requirement is, then, a bid for further compromise.2 Compromise in the first sense concerns an undercutting of the self, while compromise in the second sense involves a grant of concessions. Yet, unlike compromises that arise in the legislative process, or at least in some ideal version of it,3 the compromise involved in an exemption from a neutral law of general application involves neither an exchange of benefits nor the prospect of mutual benefit-two hallmarks of compromise in, say, political (and other) negotiations.4 There are several reasons to doubt the wisdom or fairness of the requested exemptions, then.


Sepinwall AJ. The Challenges of Conscience in a World of Compromise. In: Knight J, editor. Nomos LIX: Compromise. New York:NYU Press, 2018. pp. 220-247.

(Report) Sexual and reproductive health rights and the implication of conscientious objection

Ludovica Anedda, Lucy Arora, Luca Favero, Nathalie Meurens, Sophie Morel, Martha Schofield

European Union Report: Implications of Conscientious Objection
European Union Report: Implications of Conscientious Objection

Abstract
This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee. It aims to provide a comparative overview of the situation in the European Union, with particular focus on six selected Member States, in terms of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods (such as medicines) and services (such as abortion and family planning), from both legal and practical perspectives. The study looks at the extent to which conscientious objection affects access to sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR). The study will contribute to formulating a clear framework for the improvement of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare goods and services in the EU


Anedda L, Arora L, Favero L, Meurens N, Morel S, Schofield M. (Report) Sexual and reproductive health rights and the implication of conscientious objection. Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs,
European Parliament. 2018.

Seeking to square the circle: A sustainable conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare

Emmanuelle Bribosia, Isabelle Rorive

The Conscience Wars

Abstract
While the right to abortion is not spelled out as such in the international or regional human rights treaties, recent developments strongly support the view that a right to safe and legal abortion is a woman’s human right. A sustainable model of conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare must take into account the human rights developments concerning induced abortion. For the past hundred years, conscientious objection has been used almost exclusively in the context of refusal to perform compulsory military service. There are major difficulties in trying to transpose the debate surrounding conscientious objection to the realm of reproductive health. The wider context of conscience claims raised after the legalisation of same-sex unions is even more disturbing. It shows the detrimental effect hat accommodation policies could have on the full operation of non-discrimination law. Recent supranational and national cases show that the recognition of conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare is hardly sustainable on the ground. A snowball effect seems inevitable. And even well-defined legal safeguards are failing. This leads to wide discriminatory treatment based on gender, territorial status, low social condition and ethnicity. This also leads to the failure to recognise the dignitary harm to women and the perpetuation of social prejudice and structural inequality which result from this approach. In other words, designing, implementing and monitoring a strictly regulated conscience clause in reproductive healthcare resembles an effort to square the circle. Something always falls by the wayside, and the ‘something’ is no less than women’s human rights.


Bribosia E, Rorive I. Seeking to square the circle: A sustainable conscientious objection in reproductive healthcare. In Chapter 15, Mancini S, Rosenfeld M, editors. The Conscience Wars: Rethinking the Balance between Religion, Identity, and Equality, Cambridge: University Press, 2018 (392-413).

The Right of Religious Hospitals to Refuse Physician-assisted Suicide

Barry W Bussey

Supreme Court Law Review
Supreme Court Law Review

Abstract
The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to allow medical assistance in dying (MAiD) has created a crisis of conscience for religious hospitals that refuse MAiD based on religious beliefs and conscience. This paper argues that when the law is revised concerning fundamental human life issues (FHLI), such as assisted suicide, liberal democracies must tolerate religious communities and institutions that refuse to accept the law’s revision. This toleration for religious belief and practice is predicated on the idea that the religious practice at issue remains legal and forms part of the religious community’s moral framework to which the state remains neutral. A refusal to tolerate the religious position is a rejection of the collective wisdom of liberal democratic thought that has emphasized religious individual and, by extension, religious institutional freedom. The Christian hospital, having been around for millennia, forms a necessary part of civil society. Robert Putnam’s research on the importance of religion to civic society is used to make the argument that society as a whole benefits from the norm of reciprocity, (“I’ll do this for you now, with the expectation that you (or perhaps someone else) will return the favour”). As the state continues to allow the religious community to have “its” hospital, the community, as a whole, will continue to maintain a high level of trust toward the state. Radical positions from our historical norms require thoughtful reflection of their presuppositions. It would serve us well to maintain a humble appreciation of our cultural heritage even when we think we are right in our newfound positions on FHLI.


Bussey BW. The Right of Religious Hospitals to Refuse Physician-assisted Suicide. Supreme Court Law Review. 2018;189-223.