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L’objection de conscience au-delà du service militaire

February 2017

Since 2013, the limits of conscientious objections, in particular for health workers, has been an ongoing concern in politics and the public debate. While the majority of the debate has circled around the rights of medical doctors to refuse to refer women to hospitals for abortion, the recently adopted law on the ritual circumcision of baby boys has also sparked a sharp rise in conscientious objections by surgeons. Recently, the debate has taken an unexpected turn, as a nursing student asked to be exempt from serving pork during her practice placement, a request that was turned down and met with wide disapproval.

To better clarify the limits of the conscientious objector status, a government-appointed commission submitted its recommendations in September, 2016. The commission stressed the need to preserve objector status only for deeply held convictions, and recommended a mixed approach between legally established rights to exemption and locally adapted solutions.

In February of 2017, a doctor lost her case against the State in Aust-Telemark District Court. She was fired for her refusal to provide contraceptive coils to her patients on the basis of her religious convictions. Her claim was considered subordinate to that of the right of women to full and unbridled access to contraceptives. The doctor has filed an appeal, which will be heard by Agder Appeals Court in October.

20 juin 2017