Reader feedback: Torn over conscientious objection

Re: KDH and SDKÚ face clash over Vatican Treaty, Flash News Briefs, February 6 - February 12, 2006

To a certain extent, I am torn on the provision that would allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions on religious grounds.

On the one hand, I believe that, in a free society, no physician should be forced for any reason to perform procedures they find morally objectionable.

On the other hand, though, I adamantly hold that abortions must remain safe and legal in order for women to truly be free. I do not believe that the government should play a role in making this difficult decision for women, outside of guaranteeing the safety and licensing standards of medical professionals.

What tips the scale for me is the fact that democracy is based on certain fundamental principles: in order for a government by the people and for the people to function, there must be separation of church - an extremely influential institution in many people's lives, even without legislative powers - and state.

Certainly Slovakia is a predominantly Catholic country, but that is precisely the reason I would question any decision to sign the Vatican Treaty, a document which most certainly smacks of state sponsorship of a specific religion. In order to protect the religious rights of the minority, Slovakia must NOT endorse the Vatican point of view.

M. Shantyhag,
USA

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