Présent: Despite the requests you made to modify this new "Statement on Medically_Indicated Termination of Pregnancy" to improve the protection of the conscience clause, you have not been listened to. Why ?
Grégor Puppinck: For many years, there has been a strong will of abortion activists to remove the possibility for physicians to object. They have unfortunately come to a result, and the adoption of this text by the WMA is a failure for us, because it is ambiguouse enough to be used in favour of pro-abortion activists, and therefore against the phycisian objectors.
- What are these ambiguities you mention?
- Although we succeeded in reaffirming the principle of the right to conscientious objection, it is limited. Physicians have an obligation to perform abortions in case of emergency for the life or health of the mother. The text obviously mentions so-called medical abortion (...). It goes without saying that when it comes to a person's life or health, physicians take the necessary steps to save the patient. Nevertheless, the problem with this text is that the definition of health is very broad. We would have liked them to specify: physical health. Now, a mental health problem can be considered a serious enough condition to force a doctor to perform an abortion. This ambiguity is worrisome, because today's unclear definition of health in itself broadens the scope of the obligation to perform an abortion.
- You also noted that there is no reference to the child.
- Yes, and it's a big step backwards. It has also been seen at the United Nations during debates in the Human Rights Committee: the notion of child has completely disappeared in the interpretation of the right to life. We only talk about that of the woman and not of that of the child. Finally, the other problem with this text is that it is written in such a way that it requires doctors to act with national authorities to legalize abortion for countries where it is not legal. When we know that the WMA was originally against abortion, we can only note the deterioration of the situation.
- Why is it so important to defend conscientious objection for doctors?
- Simply because it is the first and the last freedom. The first in terms of importance and the last in order of resistance. If we lose the freedom of conscience we lose all the other freedoms.
- If the conscience clause was removed, would it not be the consecration of a stranglehold of politics on the medical?
- It is normal that there is some form of political domination, in the sense that the laws is binding, and that is normal. The underlying problem is that the law would require people to end lives, and therefore to commit an evil act. The fact that the law is ideologically justified in order to impose it does not change the substance of the problem. It would be a very serious attack on the conscience of the people and a dictatorial measure.
 World Medical Association, "Oslo Declaration on Therapeutic Abortion", October 2006