An Equality Bill could put medical practitioners in conflict with their personal beliefs on abortion and euthanasia, doctors have said.

The Medical Association of Malta said it agreed with the principles of the Bill, which  promotes equality and discourages discrimination based on race, religion or sexual orientation.

These were very well-established principles of medical ethics that doctors had been obliged to follow for many years, the union said, and which could be enforced by the Medical Council.

These ethical principles were also included in the curriculum of medical students and specialist trainees.

“While the MAM is in agreement with the principles behind the Bill, it formally supports the position taken by the Medical Council of Malta recommending the need for conscientious objection, and that amendments are necessary in this regard,” it said.

It added that the Bill, however, went well beyond its intended objective and could place medical practitioners in difficulty with their personal beliefs on topics such as abortion and euthanasia.

It appealed to the Justice Minister to carry out proper consultation with the medical sector saying that although all forms of discrimination had to be condemned, due consideration had to be taken so to avoid unacceptable situations in medical practice.

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