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Conscience and conscientious objection: The midwife's role in abortion services.

Ramsayer, B and Fleming, V (2020) Conscience and conscientious objection: The midwife's role in abortion services. Nursing Ethics. ISSN 0969-7330

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Traditionally, the role of midwives has been to be with women throughout the pregnancy continuum, from conception until the end of the postnatal period. Midwives, however, have been named as key providers of abortion services. While freedom of conscience is legally protected within Europe, discrepancies exist between midwifery and conscientious objection to abortion-related services. Midwives are largely ignored within the academic discussion despite the care and support they give to women undergoing abortions. Those discrepancies led to the aim of this article to address this issue by discussing some of the key ethical and legal concepts that are relevant to midwives' role in the provision of abortion services. This article shows that the decision to provide or object to abortion services remains ethically very complex because arguments exist both for and against its provision. Being with women can be interpreted differently and individual situations of care are multifaceted. Conscientious objection to abortion services is a highly contentious issue that has an overall importance to midwives. Noting that decisions are individual, may change or may be situationally dependant; a definitive position of midwives for or against conscientious objection cannot be assumed. Respecting conscience and acknowledging that there are various arguments for and against conscientious objection promotes widespread understanding. It accommodates both the opportunity for midwives to object on conscience grounds to the provision of abortion services and respect women's autonomy so that mutual agreement may be reached on issues that may have far reaching consequences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1110 Nursing, 2201 Applied Ethics
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Nursing & Allied Health
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2020 11:42
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 07:00
DOI or ID number: 10.1177/0969733020928416
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13298
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