2nd Mexican state allows conscience objection for doctors

October 22, 2019 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Rights officials expressed concern Tuesday after a second state congress in Mexico passed a “conscience objection” law that would allow medical personnel to refuse to perform procedures that violate their religious or ethical convictions.

The Council to Prevent Discrimination said a new law passed in the northern state of Nuevo Leon threatened people’s access to health care.

“Conscience objection should not any under circumstances lead to Nuevo Leon failing to provide health services to the public, above all if the motivation for that objection were based on acts that the law considers discriminatory,” the council said in a statement.

The governmental National Human Rights Commission has filed a Supreme Court appeal against the first law, approved in the central state of Morelos in August.

The commission argues that law is unconstitutional because it could restrict access to health care for women who seek an abortion. But it also noted the state rules could also impact people who are gay or HIV-positive.

“Medical personnel and nurses could deny services based on health reasons, including HIV and AIDS, or based on gender or sexual preferences,” the commission warned.

The court has yet to rule on that appeal.

Another state in northern Mexico passed a similar law Oct. 15. The Nuevo Leon state law, like the one in Morelos, says objections cannot apply in medical emergencies or when a patient’s life is in danger.