Nurses’ right to conscientious objection over abortion is incompatible with non-judgemental practice

Why the needs of the patient trump nurses’ personal beliefs
nurse and patient consult

Why the needs of the patient trump nurses’ personal beliefs

Patients have the right to compassionate and timely care. Picture: iStock

As the director of nursing at BPAS (the British Pregnancy Advisory Service) I believe it is of the utmost importance to ensure the staff we employ are comfortable with the provision of all the services we provide. This includes termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks.

Nurses are however entitled to conscientiously object to taking part in certain activities on the grounds of freedom of thought, conscience or religion. In English law there are two statutory provisions that provide a legal right for conscientious objection, the first in relation to abortion and the other in relation to in vitro fertilisation and embryo research; the Abortion Act (1967) and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) have these clauses built into them.



Want to read more?

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?