Council of Europe Defeats Attack on Abortion Conscience Rights for Medical Staff

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Council of Europe Defeats Attack on Abortion Conscience Rights for Medical Staff

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10,

London, England ( — The Council of Europe turned back an attempt by abortion advocates to trample on the conscience rights of medical professionals. The Parliamentary Assembly voted on a report which recommended a crackdown on medical personnel who refuse to be involved in abortions and other objectionable anti-life procedures.

Ronan Mullen, the Irish senator, and Luca Volonte of Italy, led the assembly in passing amendments which reversed the report from a pro-abortion attack on conscientious objection to a defense of conscientious objection.

Christine McCafferty, the report’s British author, and Carina Hagg, its Swedish author, and their fellow pro-abortion assembly-members were eventually forced to vote against their own report.

The report was rejected in the final vote as it failed to secure a two-thirds majority.

Anthony Ozimic, communications manager of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), commented on the vote.

"This evening witnessed an incredible victory for the right of staff in medical institutions to refuse to be complicit in the killing of unborn children and other unethical practices," he said.

"SPUC is immensely grateful to the large number of our supporters who lobbied the assembly in recent months, as well as to Senator Mullen, Mr Volonte and the assembly-members who supported them," he added.

During the debate, Mullen pointed out that the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the rights of the unborn child and there is no human right to abortion, whereas conscientious objection is a basic principle of human rights.

Dr Ruth Cullen of the Pro-Life Campaign in Ireland, also applauded the vote in a statement sent to

"The motivation behind the original motion was certainly not concern for women’s health but a desperate attempt to coerce doctors into performing abortions as the evidence mounts that fewer and fewer of them wish to be involved in such a gruesome and inhumane practice," she said. "To deny legitimate conscientious objection to medical professionals would be tyrannical and an infringement of basic human rights."

She said the pro-abortion backers of the motion, "run a mile from debate on the latest peer reviewed studies showing the long term negative consequences of abortion for women. They are also completely in denial on the rights of unborn babies throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy."

PNCI Director Marie Smith also responded to the vote, saying the report had input from the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, a U.S.-based pro-abortion law firm.

"Leading pro-abortion organization ‘Catholics for Choice’ (CFC) also lobbied for the report attacking authentic Catholic teaching on conscience while fraudulently presenting itself as the determiner of Catholic beliefs on conscience," Smith said.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch lobbied in support of the report stating in a letter to the Council that the groups, has a "deep concern expressed by the Committee about the increasing and largely unregulated occurrence of conscientious objection, especially in the field of reproductive health care."

The pro-abortion lobby was undone by a united and strong pro-life network from throughout Europe which was moved to action by the extreme measures of the McCafferty report and statements by CFC and other NGOs.

Smith states: "The pro-life network in Europe is growing in strength daily, in part motivated to action by radical groups which advance the violence of abortion.

Related web sites:
Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues –


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