The Right to Conscencious Objection strentghened by the Council of Europe
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: World Youth Alliance Commends Adoption by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of the Report on The right to conscientious objection in lawful medical care
Strasbourg: October 7, 2010
The World Youth Alliance participated this week in the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, with a special focus on the Report by Mrs. McCafferty on the conscientious objection of healthcare providers. After a long debate over the Report and its proposed amendments, the World Youth Alliance welcomes the final product, which truly respects the fundamental human right of freedom of conscience for healthcare providers and the religious freedom and independence of healthcare institutions.
The Report itself was substantially changed during the debate and vote, thanks to the participation of a high number of nationally-elected members sitting in the Parliamentary Assembly. Parliamentarians in favor of the rights of conscience for healthcare workers gave strong arguments in favor of this fundamental right and formed a voting block for each of the amendments. Therefore, each amendment that was supported by the Rapporteur ultimately failed. Although McCafferty claimed she had struck a balance in her report, the debate brought out her true feelings, when she stated, “There is no right to conscientious objection in the medical field.”
The new Resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly recognizes the right of conscientious objection, protects conscientious objectors from discrimination and guarantees the provision of necessary healthcare. It respects the dignity of the person in terms of freedom of conscience, but also respects the dignity of the person in terms of access to healthcare. World Youth Alliance congratulates all the Parliamentarians who drafted the amendments that were ultimately adopted, and commends the work of the Chairperson, who maintained decorum and order during a very heated debate. You can find the provisional version of the resolution adopted on the website of the PACE.
The democratic debate which happened today in the Assembly and in the press, thanks to the mobilization of several civil society representatives and individuals, shows that the Council of Europe institutions are able to uphold the principles enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights adopted 60 years ago this year. “This vote shows that Europeans are still attached to the core ideas of the European project, namely fundamental rights like the right to conscientious objection,” stated Marie-Caroline Leroux, Director of WYA Europe.
The World Youth Alliance is a global coalition of young people dedicated to promoting the dignity of the human person in policy and culture and to building solidarity between young people of developing and developed nations. With approximately one million members from more than 160 countries, the World Youth Alliance is one of the biggest coalitions of young people worldwide.