Conscience Legislation, the Personhood Movement, and Access to Controversial Care
In the medical setting, conscience legislation serves to protect health care professionals who refuse to provide certain procedures or services that would violate their consciences. The “Personhood Movement,” on the other hand, is characterized by advocates’ attempts to adopt legislation or constitutional amendments at the state and/or federal level that would extend the legal and moral protection associated with personhood to members of the human species at the earliest stages of biological development. The relationship between conscience legislation and the Personhood Movement may not be self-evident, but the connection becomes apparent when considering trends in conscience legislation. This is particularly true in the context of expanding legal protection to health care professionals who object to certain forms of birth control, such as emergency contraception (EC).