LifeSiteNews‘ July 26 edition carries a column by Thaddeus Baklinski reporting that almost half of medical students in Britain believe doctors should be free to exercise their right of conscience in refusing to perform any procedure to which they object on moral, cultural or religious grounds.
45.2% of those surveyed answered that doctors should be entitled to object while only 40.6% said ‘no’ and 14% were unsure.
The survey’s findings were published in the Journal of Medical Ethics and have worried the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, the UK’s leading independent abortion provider funded by the National Health Service. As a matter of fact, lead researcher Dr. Sophie Strickland said abortion ranks as the most contentious issue for the 733 medical students surveyed.
“The survey revealed that almost a third of students would not perform an abortion for a congenitally malformed foetus after 24 weeks, a quarter would not perform an abortion for failed contraception before 24 weeks and a fifth would not perform an abortion on a minor who was the victim of rape,” said Dr. Strickland.
“Once qualified as doctors, if all these respondents acted on their conscience and refused to perform certain procedures, it may become impossible for conscientious objectors to be accommodated in medicine,” she added.
A statement deemed troubling by Anthony McCarthy of the UK’s Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC):
“Conscientious objection, unlike abortion, is a fundamental human right protected by international law. The problem is not medical students asserting their rights to conscientious objection, in line with Hippocratic respect for human life, but the distortion of medicine by unethical practices such as abortion,” he stated.