A new report released Thursday by members of British Parliament highlighted the mistreatment of doctors who refuse to perform abortions in the nation. The report revealed that those entering the medical field undergo “harassment and abuse” if they refuse to promote or do abortions.
The report found that British doctors who oppose abortion are exposed to “widespread and increasing pressure” to become involved in abortions, Christian Today reported. The MPs discovered that upon refusal to perform abortions, many doctors and nurses were restricted from entering certain medical fields.
The report quoted Dr. John Pilling who explained the severity of the situation: “It is virtually impossible to become a consultant [in some specialties] without agreeing to perform abortions.”
The unfair treatment that these doctors are facing is in direct contradiction to the British Abortion Act of 1967, which states that “no person shall be under any duty, whether by contract or by any statutory or other legal requirement, to participate in any treatment authorised by this Act to which (s)he has a conscientious objection.”
Despite this legislation, discrimination against pro-life doctors continues to increase, according to the report. This feeling of exclusion was evidenced at one medical college for obstetricians and gynecologists. The report explained that this college articulated that someone with a moral objection to abortion could not complete the training.
Dr. Arianne Shahvisi, a lecturer in medical ethics and humanities at the University of Sussex, informed the inquiry that individuals who won’t participate in an abortion should not study medicine.
“If a person finds abortion objectionable, they should not pursue employment in which their only options are to be at one or two removes from abortion provision,” Shahvisi said.
The study concluded that the pressure placed on pro-life physicians isn’t the fault of poor legislation, but rather a lack of observation of current laws in England.
In reaction to the report’s findings, Conservative MP for Congleton Fiona Bruce, who chairs the All Party Parliament Pro-Life Group, spoke on the importance of protecting the rights of pro-life medical professionals.
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“It is vital that conscientious health professionals who do not wish to participate in abortion can be confident in their right to opt-out of doing so without fear of censure, discrimination or abuse,” Bruce said.
Bruce continued: “It is essential that our hardworking doctors, nurses and midwives are given the protection the law requires if they do not want to participate in abortions.”
The British Medical Association refused to comment on the report, according to Premier.
Jim Shannon, another MP and member of the pro-life parliament group, told Premier that he wants to introduce a reasonable accommodation provision to ensure that pro-life doctors and nurses are not being discriminated against.
“I think what we’re seeking to ensure if those that have a conscience, a worry about the abortion provision, in all conscience can’t give that direction to a patient, that they have a method that they can exercise their right to conscience,” Shannon said.