[Press Release]: Alliance VITA Denounces Attempt to Abolish Conscience Clause in French Health Bill Reform

Alliance VITA denounces an attempt to abolish the conscience clause for doctors and health professionals using amendments to article 17 in France’s Health Bill proposal, which is being discussed by the Social Affairs Committee.

Although the bill aims at reforming the Health System, some MP’s from Macron’s party LREM (La République en Marche) and from the left-wing, eco-socialist party “La France Insoumise” are attacking, against the government’s instruction, the freedom of conscience clause, stipulated by law for health professionals regarding abortion.

Article L2212-8 of the Public Health Code specifies that “a doctor is never required to perform an abortion but must immediately make his refusal known, and refer the person concerned to other practitioners likely to perform the abortion (…). No midwife, nurse, or medical assistant can be required to assist in performing an abortion.”

Tugdual Derville’s point of view, as Alliance VITA’s General Delegate:

“If the 1975 law on abortion includes an explicit conscience clause for health professionals, this is due to the very particular nature of an act that ends a human life. A professional cannot be forced to act in absolute contradiction to his conscience. The implication of this ideological maneuvering of some MP’s, is that today health professionals are nothing but service provider. However, the conscience clause legitimately recognized for abortion, out of respect for the caregivers’ personal convictions, is essential for protecting their freedom of conscience. If someone is forced to act in complete contradiction to his conscience, this fundamental democratic freedom is disregarded and trampled on. Many caregivers are likely to be very uncomfortable should this conscience clause be abolished, at a time when the health care system is supposedly being restructured. In addition, it could lead to discrimination, since some caregivers may be forced to abandon their profession.”

With more than 210,000 abortions performed annually, France has a high rate of abortion. Alliance VITA maintains that policy makers should be alarmed by the lack of a genuine abortion prevention policy, rather than concentrate on stigmatizing health professionals who act according to their conscience. While France is going through a serious social crisis, Alliance VITA solemnly asks the government to face its responsibilities and firmly reject this libertarian disposition.

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