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Freedom of Conscience, Medical Practitioners and Abortion in South Africa

IJRF, Vol 4:1, 2011

11 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2016  

Shaun Alberto de Freitas

University of the Free State - Faculty of Law; School of Law, University of Notre Dame (Fremantle Campus)

Date Written: August 16, 2016

Abstract

While the South African Constitution, along with most modern standards of human rights, recognises the right to freedom of conscience, there is in reality a concern that medical practitioners in South Africa who strongly believe in the sanctity of the unborn, might be pressurised to act against their beliefs (the same probably applies in many other societies perceived as being democratic and pluralist). Consequently, this article argues for the protection of the medical practitioner’s right to conscientious objection to participating in abortions. In this regard, special emphasis is placed on the complexity and gravity of views on the nature of the unborn. This argument, together with some critical thought on the place and nature of religion in a pluralist and democratic society, serves as a strong motivation for the accommodation of those medical practitioners who strongly believe in the unborn as being human (or at least as something worthy of protection).

Keywords: freedom of religion, religious rights, conscientious objection, reasonable accommodation, medical ethics, abortion

Suggested Citation

de Freitas, Shaun Alberto, Freedom of Conscience, Medical Practitioners and Abortion in South Africa (August 16, 2016). IJRF, Vol 4:1, 2011 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2824339

Shaun Alberto De Freitas (Contact Author)

University of the Free State - Faculty of Law ( email )

205 Nelson Mandela Drive
Park West
Bloemfontein, Free State 9300
South Africa

School of Law, University of Notre Dame (Fremantle Campus) ( email )

Sydney Campus, New South Wales
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.nd.edu.au/sydney/schools/law/staff/shaun-de-freitas

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