The Collegial Medical Organization and various pro-life groups in Spain have strongly rejected statements by the country’s Minister of Justice, Francisco Caamano, who said Thursday that “there is no room for conscientious objection” when it comes to abortion.
The president of the Collegial Medical Organization, Dr. Juan Jose Rodriguez Sendin, said, “The right doctors have in Spain to conscientious objection is going to be respected, whether they like it or not, and it is better this is accepted on good rather than on bad terms.”
Conscientious objection is universally recognized in the medical profession, he insisted, noting that the commitment not to kill, not to abort, not to take part in torture, not to betray patients has been part of medical practice for more than 40 centuries.
“It should not seem strange to any normal person that doctors do not want to perform abortions, what ought to seem strange is the opposite,” he added. “Because it is not an ideological problem, it is simply a question of freedom. For this reason, we are going to defend the right of doctors to conscientious objection,” Rodriguez said.
The Association for the Defense of Conscientious Objection issued a press release calling the statements by the Minister of Justice “sectarian, imprudent and revealing of a manifest scorn for constitutional law, which considers conscientious objection to abortion a right of doctors and other health care professionals.”
“For the vast majority of doctors, the rejection of abortion is not based on moral principles but on the conviction that it presupposes ending human life,” the association warned.
It also noted that conscientious objection is the last resort for a citizen “when an obligation imposed by law causes rejection or a grave moral conflict.” “We are certain that the Minister would not want to ‘taste his own medicine’ if he found himself in other circumstances,” the group said.
“We deplore the ‘crusade’ that has been launched in recent days against freedom of conscience,” the association said, calling on the Minister of Justice to publicly clarify “whether his respect for freedom of conscience is sincere or is subject to political interests.”
Right to Life spokesperson, Gador Joya, warned Caamano that no minister and no government “can force a doctor to end a human life and harm the health of his patients. No matter what Mr. Caamano says, we doctors protect life and care for our patients. The vast majority does not practice abortion nor will we,” she stressed.