Health Care is a Human Right

Yet, in many places, including the US, patients can be denied the health care services they need because of a provider's personal beliefs

Young woman sitting on bed at hospital ward. Thoughtful female patient is looking away. She is wearing blue gown.

Everyone should have access to health care that is timely, acceptable, and affordable. Yet, policies that allow health professionals to invoke personal beliefs to deny patients abortion and other reproductive health services increasingly threaten access to health care, violating the human rights of women worldwide. Seventy jurisdictions around the world—including 45 of 50 US states—have policies that allow providers to deny care based on “conscience claims.” These practices violate principles of medical ethics, discriminate against patients in need, and have devastating consequences for women and girls who are denied abortions, contraception, fertility treatment, and other services. Some health professionals are also using these claims to deny services to LGBTQI individuals and their families. Learn more about refusals to care in our report: Unconscionable.

We're calling on policymakers to change this unconscionable practice. Join us.

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Dangerous, unethical, and discriminatory: the denial of health care services based on a provider’s personal belief is a violation of human rights

#Unconscionable #StandUp4HumanRights


Watch: Providers of Conscience

Health care providers share why they stand up for the rights of women and girls to access sexual and reproductive health services

Get The Facts: Unconscionable Report

Evidence reveals a worrisome and growing global trend of health care providers who are refusing to deliver health care services to those in need. This report captures the conclusions of 45 experts from 22 countries on the ethical, legal and human consequences of policies that allow providers to deny essential and legal health care based on their individual beliefs.

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In the News

Why the Fight for Legal Abortion is Only Half the Battle

By Shannon Kowalski and Susan Wood

Allowing health professionals to deny women abortions based on their personal beliefs runs counter to their ethical duty to do no harm.

Reframing Denial of Health Care in South Africa

By Satang Nabaneh Marion Stevens and Lucia Berro Pizzarossa

South Africa has one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, but providers deploy "conscience claims" to deny women vital services.

Religious pharmacist allegedly denies woman post-miscarriage medication

A woman who suffered a miscarriage was refused vital medication by a pharmacy in Petoskey, Michigan, because the pharmacist cited religious objections, a letter of complaint from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims.

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