The Mexican Senate has approved a measure protecting the conscientious objections of medical personnel who hold moral or ethical objections to certain treatments.
The decree, approved March 22, states that “professionals, technicians, aides, social service providers that are part of the National Healthcare System shall be able to invoke the right of conscientious objection and excuse themselves from participating and/or cooperating in all those programs, activities, practices, treatments, methods or research that contravenes their freedom of conscience based on their values or ethical principles.”
Critics of the legislation have threatened to challenge it in court, saying that it violates a woman’s right to choose abortion.
Abortion is legal in Mexico City up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, although it is illegal in much of the country.
The legislation does not allow medical professionals to invoke conscientious objection “when the life of the patient is put at risk or it is a medical emergency.”
Representative Norma Edith Martínez Guzmán first introduced the measure in October 2017. After its passage in the House of Representatives, it went on to the Senate where it passed 53-15, with one abstention.
The decree has been sent to the executive branch to be signed into law, and within 90 days, the guidelines for its application must be issued.
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