Anti-abortion doctors have gone to court to challenge new Medical Council guidelines on how physicians with personal objections to abortion must deal with patients.Click through for the whole article. Deborah has a great post about it up already.
...The doctors filed an application in the High Court last week for a judicial review of the guidelines, titled "Beliefs and Medical Practice".
The Medical Council is withholding the guidelines until the case is decided.
The doctors' lawyer, Harry Waalkens, QC, said proceedings for a judicial review had been filed, but would not comment on the grounds for the challenge until he could speak to his clients. He would not name any of the doctors.
Their main objection is understood to involve a new section in the guidelines covering the way doctors who object to abortion must deal with patients.
It requires them to tell patients having doubts about a pregnancy that abortion is one of the options.
The final version of the document is not available, but a draft version was issued in March.
A Medical Council spokesman said changes had been made since then, but he could not provide the final text because of the court action.
The statement was intended to guide medical practitioners, and tried to balance doctors' and patients' rights - including the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the entitlement to care and treatment.
The Medical Council is legally responsible for setting standards and guidelines for medical practitioners, as well as dealing with registration and claims of professional misconduct.
The law already allows doctors to refuse to provide contraception or abortion services on grounds of conscience, although they must tell patients they can consult another physician.
The draft guidelines say that regardless of their personal beliefs, doctors must ensure a pregnant woman having doubts about her pregnancy is told abortion is among the options available to her, and is given information on it and the other options.
It is the first time the issue of personal beliefs and abortion has been addressed in Medical Council guidelines, and follows a similar move in Britain.
Friday, 19 February 2010
at 1:50 p.m. by Julie
This was the front page lead story in the Herald this morning: