Ombudsman for Equality opposes the proposal on the right of health care personnel to unilaterally refuse to perform a pregnancy termination
Citizen's Initiative (KAA 2/2015 vp) proposes the statutory right of health care personnel to unilaterally refuse to perform a pregnancy termination. The Ombudsman for Equality has issued a statement on the initiative to the Social Affairs and Health Committee. The Ombudsman for Equality opposes the proposed addendum to legislation.
The Ombudsman for Equality stresses that the rights of the patient are also of the utmost importance in this regard. Pregnancy termination is a matter related to the reproductive health and rights of women as well as their right to self-determination. In Finland, pregnancy termination is a statutorily guaranteed health care service.
Including the right to refuse in applicable legislation could jeopardise the availability of health care services related to the termination of pregnancy that are provided for in law and, ultimately, the health of the patient. The termination of a pregnancy could be delayed, even though the law would require the termination to be performed at as early a stage as possible. It could also threaten the assurance of regional equality in access to health care services. Including the right to refuse in applicable legislation might also lead to a situation in which the patient would feel that her statutory rights were being called into question.