(July 2012) Annotation of Prof. Carlo Flamigni, in “Conscientious Objection and Bioethics”

Annotation of Prof. Carlo Flamigni, in “Conscientious Objection and Bioethics, Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Comitato Nazionale per la Bioetica (CNB).  
Translated from “Obiezione di Conscienza e Bioeteca,” Pesidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri.

12 July 2012

This Italian report from the National Committee of Bioethics declares “conscientious objection” in healthcare to be an “inviolable” human right for objectors. Out of the mostly Catholic committee of 24 persons, only one voted against the report – Professor Carlo Flamigni. He wrote a 13-page “Annotation” criticizing the report. Some excerpts from his Annotation:

“Supported by the Catholic Church, pro-life movements have been calling for years for the practice of conscientious objection to voluntary abortion to be recognized as an institution of constitutional rank and for it to be recognized as an ‘inviolable human right’. Punctually, the National Committee for Bioethics has now satisfied this request…”

“[To paraphrase the report’s language in simpler terms] conscientious objection to voluntary abortion (and in the future, who knows, to euthanasia) is something so noble and virtuous that the objector must be guaranteed the right to refrain from performing the (public) service required by law without any burden, ignoring the freedoms and fundamental rights of citizens who are entitled to receive that service.”

“The final conclusion is that if one abandons – as I believe it is necessary to do – the idea that conscientious objection should be considered as the banner raised in defence of human rights and in particular of the ‘right to life’ in the prenatal phase against a law enacted by a Creon [autocratic] power, then conscientious objection in the field of health is no longer a “fundamental right”, but it may be permitted provided that the objector is obliged to accept an appropriate charge (to provide a supplementary service that integrates the lack of service due, or to adopt the criterion of staff mobility cannot be adequate compensation) that testifies to the solely and exquisitely moral reasons for his request. Continuing to defend the current situation, which is limited to exempting from the service anyone who requests it, means defending the privilege of too many ‘convenient objectors’, i.e. continuing to feed the widespread immorality.”

Sources:  Original Italian report http://bioetica.governo.it/media/1839/p102_2012_obiezione_coscienza_it.pdf
English translation (using Deepl Translate)