Council of Europe Passes Resolution to Protect Right of Conscience in Medical Care

Freedom of conscience has had its first great victory for the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe! Advocacy by WYA Europe members and staff paid off in full as the Council passed a Resolution reaffirming the right of healthcare providers to abstain from unethical procedures on the grounds of moral objection. To help achieve this goal, WYA members used material from the Dignity Alert to directly voice their concerns to Parliamentarians. The WYA Europe Director represented WYA at the press conference, and engaged in immediate advocacy during the Strasbourg session.

Intriguingly, the resolution was originally meant to prohibit the rights of medical providers, rather than confirm them, claiming that conscientious objection was inadequately regulated in member countries, and that the right to objection had to be restrained in some cases to ensure women’s access to lawful medical care. WYA Europe assisted in transforming the nature of the document, and worked with Parliamentarians to protect the individual freedoms in this timely issue.

WYA Europe Director Marie-Caroline Leroux speaks about the amendment process in an interview with the website Famille Chretienne, “Une génération montante d´Européens est attachée á la liberté de conscience.” The interview details how, through positive numbers of nationally-elected Parliamentarians, the document which was meant to restrict rights of conscience ended up strengthening this fundamental freedom.

For more information, see WYAE´s Press Release.

-Maggie Snyder, WYA Europe Intern