Health and Conscience
In many western countries, recent decades have witnessed a disturbing loss of respect within the medical establishment for the rights of conscience. Increasingly, medical practitioners, pharmacists and support staff who refuse to be involved in abortions, who decline to participate in other morally objectionable procedures or who refuse to supply abortifacients or contraceptives, find themselves ridiculed, unemployed or underemployed, and, in some instances, prosecuted. No one should be compelled to act in a way that contradicts his or her conscience. The Catechism of the Catholic Church cautions that, “a human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself . . .” (CCC 1790).