Policy Report on Religion and Healthcare in the European Union

The Equal Rights Trust is pleased to announce the publication of Religion and Healthcare in the European Union: Policy Issues and Trends, a policy research report commissioned by the Network of European Foundations, in the framework of its ‘Religion and Democracy in Europe’ initiative. The report presents an analytical discussion of health policy issues on which religion has an impact.

The report covers a number of issues ranging from euthanasia to fertility treatment, from belief-based exemption for doctors to perform abortion to medication and dietary needs of religious patients, from organ donation to contraception, and from circumcision to suicide. On these issues, a major challenge of health policy is balancing fundamental human rights such as the right to equality, the right to health and the right to freedom of religion, while adhering to secular principles. This challenge is common across the European Union where key issues relating to healthcare policy have been influenced by religion and have had to accommodate religion.

The report identifies policy trends and needs for policy development in areas of general, sexual and reproductive, and mental healthcare. Taking stock of the current legal basis of health policy in the European Union, the analysis is based on the integrated framework on equality as expressed in the 2008 Declaration of Principles on Equality. The report provides a platform for discussion on how the religious needs of the community, religious doctrines, and religious practices in the European Union region affect public health policy, and how such policy ought to be shaped in order to ensure equality in healthcare.

To read Religion and Healthcare in the European Union: Policy Issues and Trends, click here