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Defending life
from conception to natural death


Draft doctors' guidance undermines human rights, says SPUC

15 June 2012

Draft doctors' guidance undermines human rights, says SPUC 15 June 2012: Draft guidance for doctors by the General Medical Council (GMC) undermines human rights, said the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) a leading pro-life organisation.

SPUC made the comments in its submission to the GMC's consultation on personal beliefs, which closes today.

[SPUC's submission )

In its submission, SPUC said that: * The right to conscientious objection is a human right, which the GMC should recognise and protect far more fully * Patients need doctors of integrity who practise medicine in accordance with their conscience, including in regard to pregnant women and their unborn children.  Doctors need protection from pressures to treat patients in ways they believe are harmful, or to facilitate such harm by e.g. referring women for abortion *

The relationship between doctor and patient is not one of service provider to client.

It cannot be consistent with professional ethics to require doctors to provide specific procedures, such as abortion, based not on patient need but solely on patient demand *

It is also quite unreasonable to expect a doctor with a conscientious objection to arrange for the patient to see another doctor “who does not hold the same objection as you” (e.g. to abortion)*

To require someone to act against his or her conscience is a violation of the person * The guidance is unclear and internally incoherent in several places. For more information, please contact Anthony McCarthy of SPUC on 020 7820 3144 or 07883 107358 or at

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