Conscientious objection to provision of legal abortion care

Brooke R. Johnson, Eszter Kismödi, Monica V. Dragoman, Marleen Temmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Despite advances in scientific evidence, technologies, and human rights rationale for providing safe abortion, a broad range of cultural, regulatory, and health system barriers that deter access to abortion continues to exist in many countries. When conscientious objection to provision of abortion becomes one of these barriers, it can create risks to women's health and the enjoyment of their human rights. To eliminate this barrier, states should implement regulations for healthcare providers on how to invoke conscientious objection without jeopardizing women's access to safe, legal abortion services, especially with regard to timely referral for care and in emergency cases when referral is not possible. In addition, states should take all necessary measures to ensure that all women and adolescents have the means to prevent unintended pregnancies and to obtain safe abortion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S60-S62
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue numberSUPPL.3
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Abortion
  • Conscientious objection
  • Human rights
  • Maternal health
  • Women's health


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