Surgeon backs GP over gay adoption opt-out stance

A SURGEON says doctors should be given the chance to opt-out on the gay adoption issue in a way similar to the manner in which they are protected over abortion. Consultant Bernard Palmer of Pasture Road, Letchworth GC, has come to the support of a Bedford

A SURGEON says doctors should be given the chance to opt-out on the gay adoption issue in a way similar to the manner in which they are protected over abortion.

Consultant Bernard Palmer of Pasture Road, Letchworth GC, has come to the support of a Bedfordshire GP who is campaigning to give doctors the option to opt-out on the grounds of Christian conscience. Doctors can be asked to provide references to determine if couples are healthy and suitable to adopt.

Dr John Lockley from Ampthill wants health secretary Patricia Hewitt to ensure the Cabinet instructs lawyers preparing the final Sexual Orientation Regulations to offer GPs an opt-out clause, similar to Section 4 of the 1967 Abortion Act.

This preserves the right of doctors to refuse to be involved in an abortion if it was against their own conscience or ethics, though they must ensure the patient is referred to another clinician.

Now Mr Palmer has come out in support of Dr Lockley saying: "I am very concerned the way the law is putting people in a very invidious position by having to follow the law or then having to defy higher law.

"There is a big shift by government in the way they are imposing themselves in a new way which they have not done before.

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"Should the law impinge itself on what I feel is a question of higher morality?

"People should be able to opt-out if they are being compelled to do something considered against a moral teaching.

"I am very supportive and admire the stand Dr Lockley is making and how he is standing up for his beliefs. It is a debate that is now, and will continue to be, a major talking point in society for some time to come.