Conscientious objection

Conscientious objection is individuals’ refusal to participate in activities that they consider incompatible with their religious, moral, philosophical or ethical beliefs. It often arises in the field of reproductive health care, particularly abortion and contraceptive services, when individual health-care providers or institutions refuse to provide certain health services due to issues concerning when human life begins.

The practice of conscientious objection is grounded in the right to freedom of religion or thought and can absolve a medical provider from providing services they would otherwise be obligated to perform. Under international and regional human rights law, the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs can be limited for the protection of the rights of others, including women’s sexual and reproductive rights. This collection of resources supports limits to conscientious objection.

Resources available in the following categories: