Resolution on ‘Conscientious Objection’ (2006)

(Reviewed and approved by the FIGO Executive Board, September 2005, and adopted by the FIGO General Assembly on 7 November 2006)

  • Recognizing that physicians have an ethical obligation, at all times, to provide benefit and prevent harm for every patient for whom they care.  
  • Recognizing further that providers are obligated to inform patients of all medically indicated options for their healthcare and respect their choice (autonomy).  
  • Recognizing patients’ rights to timely access to medical services.  
  • Acknowledging that practitioners have a right to respect for their conscientious convictions both not to undertake and to undertake the delivery of lawful services; and  
  • Noting the duty of practitioners as professionals to abide by scientifically and professionally determined definitions of reproductive health services and not to mischaracterize them on the basis of personal beliefs.  

FIGO affirms that to behave ethically, practitioners shall:  

1. Provide public notice of professional services they decline to undertake on grounds of conscience;  

2. Refer patients who request such services or for whose cares such services are medical options to other practitioners who do not object to the provision of such services;  

3. Provide timely care to their patients when referral to other practitioners is not possible and delay would jeopardize patients’ health and well-being; and  

4. In emergency situations, provide care regardless of practitioners’ personal objections.