American College of Pediatricians: Freedom of Conscience Must be Upheld

The American College of Pediatricians (The College) affirms that no health professional should be required to provide, or participate in, any medical service that violates his/her conscience or causes moral distress. This affirmation includes declining to perform “hands-on” action as well as declining to participate through referral to a different health professional for the purpose of procuring such service. There has recently been a concerted effort in this country, most notably by a variety of special interest groups (including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) to enact legislation requiring physicians and other health professionals to provide and/or refer for medical services that they consider immoral or unethical. “Such healthcare services may include, but are not limited to, abortion, artificial birth control, artificial insemination, assisted reproduction, human cloning, euthanasia, human embryonic stem cell research, fetal experimentation, physician-assisted suicide, and sterilization.”1