February 22, 2024

Is the Spanish government creating a black list of healthcare workers who are conscientious objectors?

Euthanasia became legal in Spain on 25 June 2021. An unusual feature of its law is that the Health Ministry is supposed to create a public register of doctors who refuse to participate in the process of ending a patient’s life. Doctors in Spain who are conscientious objectors are complaining that this risks becoming a kind of “black list”.

Andoc, an association of healthcare workers who support conscientious objection, is bitterly critical of this “black list”. About 9,000 doctors are currently on it. It complains that the doctors who should be on a register are the doctors who are willing to practice euthanasia. They are worried about a government “witch-hunt”.

The real purpose of a registry of conscientious objectors, according to José Antonio Díez Fernández, a lawyer who is a spokesman for Andoc, is ideological: to intimidate healthcare workers. “It has nothing to do with medical tradition or with the Spanish tradition of caring for the sick”.