When a Health Professional Refuses: Legal and Regulatory Limits on Conscientious Objection to Provision of Abortion Care

The refusal of health professionals to provide services is a significant barrier to women’s access to safe abortion and other reproductive health services. Although these providers have the right to refuse service provision under international and, in some, national law, it is necessary to have national-level legal or regulatory limits on conscientious objection to protect women’s rights and their access to safe abortion services. This publication contains recommendations for enacting laws and regulations that safeguard women’s access to services while still protecting providers’ rights of conscience. It also provides information on human rights standards that address provider refusal and includes a list of further resources.