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Doctors' and nurses' right to refuse to participate in abortions

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 11 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:669
  1. Gavin Jarvis
  1. Research student Queens' College, Cambridge CB3 9ET

    EDITOR,—In his letter on doctors' right to refuse to perform abortions Dennis Cox is misleading in three respects.1 Firstly, the states that in two cases the House of Lords “made clear that neither secretaries nor nurses had a legal right to refuse to participate in abortions.”1 It did not. Section 4(1) of the Abortion Act 1967 states: “no person shall be under any duty … to participate in treatment authorised by this Act to which he has a conscientious objection.” These terms include anyone (nurse, junior doctor, or anyone else) asked to participate. Cox's use …

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