A group of professors claim doctors in New Zealand should be forced to refer women for abortions, even if they believe aborting an unborn baby is a grave moral evil.
Newshub reports Associate Professor Angela Ballantyne, a bioethics specialist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, argued the point in an article Friday in the New Zealand Medical Journal.
Lawmakers in the country currently are consider a bill to expand abortions. Ballantyne and two of her colleagues said the new legislation also should eliminate certain conscience protections for doctors. They called it a “compromise” because their proposal would not force doctors to abort unborn babies themselves.
“That really broad scope for conscientious objection is likely to be contributing to delays in women accessing timely abortion services in New Zealand,” Ballantyne wrote.
Here’s more from the report:
Presently, according to the article, “a practitioner’s duties in New Zealand are minimal. They need only inform the woman of the option of seeking out another provider, but are not required to put her in touch with an alternative provider, facilitate her transfer or even provide contact details.”
“We think that doctors should be required to essentially hold the patient’s hand – if they don’t want to do the referral to the abortion service themselves, they should still be ethically obliged to make sure that that patient gets to another doctor that can do the referral.”
The New Zealand Medical Association opposes the change, according to the report.
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New Zealand is not the only country where medical workers’ conscience rights are threatened. In America, abortion advocacy groups also are fighting against conscience protections for medical workers.
For years now, the American Civil Liberties Union has been trying to break down conscience protection rights through lawsuits against pharmacies, hospitals and other groups. In 2017, it filed a lawsuit to force a pro-life pharmacist to dispense drugs that may cause abortions.
The ACLU, which works closely with the abortion industry, has tried to force organizations and businesses to violate their religious beliefs before. So far, it has not been successful. For example, in 2016, the ACLU lost an attempt to force Catholic hospitals to refer patients for abortions.
However, it is not giving up. In 2017, the ACLU filed another lawsuit in Hawaii that has the potential to force every pharmacy in America to sell abortion drugs. In the lawsuit, the ACLU argues that the FDA is restricting women’s access to abortion by requiring that the abortion drug be dispensed at a medical facility under the supervision of a certified provider (not necessarily even a doctor), KHON News 2 reported at the time. The legal group wants the FDA to make pharmacies give out the abortion drug mifeprex, also known as mifepristone or RU-486.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has been working to increase conscience protections. In May, he introduced changes to an old Obama-era rule that threatened the conscience rights of people who oppose abortions. Pro-life groups praised the move as a victory for the rights of medical workers.