Patient rights must be preserved if doctor makes conscientious objection

The advice was included in an updated AMA position statement on the issue released this morning. 

It follows recent controversy over the rights of doctors to refuse to refer on women seeking abortions to other doctors known not to have an objection to the procedure. 

Earlier this year a Melbourne GP who admitted to refusing to refer such cases on – as required under Victorian law – became the subject of an investigation by the Medical Board of Australia and AHPRA. The case sparked the formation of a new doctors lobby group that has been fighting to have the referral requirement removed from the law.

A website for the group, Doctors Conscience, this morning still included multiple quotes from AMA documents and senior figures – including president Dr Steve Hambleton – that were critical of the law.

Dr Hambleton is quoted on the website as saying in January this year that the relevant clause in Victorian