A major victory for ethics was achieved last week at the Council of Europe. In a vote of 56 to 51, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe discarded a proposed resolution of Christine McCafferty, a British politician and abortion activist, to “regulate” health care workers right to conscientious objections to perform abortions. Worryingly such "regulation" already exists in some European nations such as in Norway.
In a dramatic U-turn the proposal in question: resolution 1763 now reinforces medics’ right to conscience based objections assist in abortions. Though without formal powers to implement resolutions the Council of Europe can yield powerful political clout. The final resolution states online that “No person, hospital or institution shall be coerced, held liable or discriminated against in any manner because of a refusal to perform, accommodate, assist or submit to an abortion, the performance of a human miscarriage, or euthanasia or any act which could cause the death of a human foetus or embryo, for any reason.”
Andrew Fergusson, former chairman of the Professional Conduct Committees at the U.K. General Medical Council, spoke at the assembly underlining the importance of ethical values to medical professionalism. "Practicing good medicine is a moral activity and not just a technical one," he said. "The foundational values of medicine are part of physicians' understanding of who they are and they have provided the basis for historical codes of medical ethics, such as the Hippocratic Oath, the Declaration of Geneva, and the U.K. General Medical Council’s Good Medical Practice."
The proposal is believed to reflect warming reports of a growing reluctance for to medics to act as abortion providers on both sides of the Atlantic.
Closer to home in London pro-life efforts are continuing with the 40 days For Life campaign. Running on to the 31st of October the campaign uses public prayer vigils to demonstrate against abortion providers. The approach used in over 238 cities is reported to be meeting some success in discouraging abortion. For others it’s providing badly needed food for thought. UCL Cathsoc members and others are contributing by volunteering for the 40 day effort outside the Central London Marie Stopes abortion facility. Volunteering is welcomed and possible by enrolling online at http://www.40daysforlife.com/london/.