European Council Passes Watered Down Conscientious Objection Resolution
Last week, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe passed a watered down version of a resolution that originally called for restrictions on European doctors' right to withhold referral information from patients seeking abortions. According to a Center for Reproductive Rights press release, the version of the resolution that was approved includes anti-abortion amendments that severely limit its provisions.
The Daily Mail reports that the original resolution would have required all doctors who do not provide abortions to directly refer women to a specific abortion provider. The non-binding resolution also would have encouraged doctors, regardless of their objections, to provide patients with abortions when requested in emergency situations and cases where there is no "equivalent practitioner within a reasonable distance," reported the Daily Mail. Though the resolution is non-binding, the Council could have used its original language to pressure European governments to enforce and improve their conscientious objection laws.
Currently, European conscientious objection guidelines allow doctors to inform patients of their right to seek an abortion elsewhere without providing women with substantive information about where to find such services. The Center for Reproductive Rights states that numerous European countries legally require doctors to refer their patients to another healthcare provider, but there is no evidence as to whether the laws are obeyed. According to the Daily Mail, an estimated 86 percent of doctors refuse to perform abortions in the Lazio region of Italy, an area which includes Rome. The originally proposed resolution required that doctors who object to providing abortions register as objectors and recommended establishing a patient complaint system.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had also passed a resolution two years ago that recommended unrestricted access to abortions in its member states.
Media Resources: Center for Reproductive Rights 10/7/10; Daily Mail 10/5/10
10/17/2014 Student Activists Across the Country Are Fighting Extreme Anti-Abortion Ballot Measures - In Tennessee, North Dakota, and Colorado - three states deciding ballot measures aimed at restricting birth control access and outlawing abortion in the upcoming election - student activists are mobilizing to get out the vote.
Members of student-ledFeminist Majority Leadership Alliancegroup Vanderbilt Feminists at Vanderbilt University have been working tirelessly to get out the word about Tennessee's Amendment 1, which would take the right of privacy for reproductive rights out of the state constitution and give local legislators the power to restrict access to abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman, and outlaw many forms of birth control, such as the IUD or the pill. . . .