Doctors and nurses who have conscientious objections to providing the morning-after pill and other forms of so-called “emergency contraception” are being barred from specialist professional qualifications in the UK under offical guidelines.
According to the Daily Telegraph, doctors who object to “any form of contraception” including a new variant of the morning-after pill that can be taken up to five days after sex, meaning sometimes after conception has taken place, are “ineligible” to receive diplomas from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health-care (FSRH), a branch of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
David Jones, director of the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, the Catholic academic institute in Oxford, said: “This is a form of unjust discrimination against professionals on the basis of their beliefs.
The FSRH guidelines state that those with moral objections are “welcome” to study the diploma course but that “Completing the syllabus means willingness during training to prescribe all forms of hormonal contraception, including emergency, and willingness to counsel and refer, if appropriate, for all intrauterine method.”
“Failure to complete the syllabus renders candidates ineligible for the award of a FSRH Diploma.”
The guidelines apply to specialist diplomas in sexual and reproductive health, as well as to anyone hoping to become a full member of the faculty.
The diplomas are viewed as an important qualification for GPs or nurses who are treating sexually transmitted infections or involved in family planning, and full membership is seen as essential for doctors who specialise in either field.