February 23, 2024

UK Parliament to study freedom of conscience for doctors over abortions

A new UK Parliamentary Inquiry into conscientious objection was launched this month.

A new UK Parliamentary Inquiry into conscientious objection was launched this month, focusing specifically on the participation of healthcare professionals in abortion. 

The Parliamentary Inquiry into Freedom of Conscience in Abortion Provision, commissioned by Tory MP and outspoken abortion opponent Fiona Bruce, will consider the scope and import of section 4 of the UK Abortion Act (1967).  The so-called “conscience clause” of the act requires 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 he has a conscientious objection”.

A call for ‘written evidence’ has been published on the Inquiry’s website, with submissions by July 16. The Inquiry committee is particularly interested in submissions regarding “good and bad practice in the use of the Conscience Clause”.

Christian Medical Fellowship Chief Executive Peter Saunders welcomed the announcement of the Inquiry and encouraged healthcare professionals to submit evidence:

This new consultation is timely. It provides a great opportunity for anyone with strong feelings on this issue, and especially those with experience of how the conscience clause works in practice, to provide input which may help to shape future law and regulations. It’s an opportunity well worth taking – especially for doctors and nurses.



British Parliamentary Inquiry Into Freedom of Conscience on Abortion
Xavier Symons
Creative commons
conscientious objection