Archive for the 'Freedom from religion' Category

Joint SMF/NSS Response to draft NHS Chaplaincy guidelines 2014

Joint SMF/NSS Response to draft NHS Chaplaincy guidelines 2014

This is a joint response on behalf of the National Secular Society and Secular Medical Forum.

Earlier this year, NHS England published draft NHS Chaplaincy guidelines. Despite being a public consultation, we are aware of no public consultation document. No information about the consultation has been made available on the NHS England consultation and engagement website.

Nevertheless, you can read the draft chaplaincy guideline document here. The Secular Medical Forum and the National Secular Society have published their joint response, and you can read the joint SMF/NSS response here.


The Secular Medical Forum (SMF) is a non-profit organisation run by volunteer healthcare professionals working to protect patients from the harm or disadvantage caused by the imposition on them of other people’s personal religious views. The SMF campaigns for equality of service delivery and employment within the NHS in terms of belief or religious affiliation.

The National Secular Society (NSS) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation founded in 1866, funded by its members and by donations. The NSS advocates separation of religion and state and promotes secularism as the best means to create a society in which people of all religions or none can live together fairly and cohesively.




posted by Anish in Freedom from religion,Hospital chaplains and have No Comments

Woman died after denied an abortion was told: “this is a Catholic country”

Savita Halappanavar

The Secular Medical Forum is saddened by the death of Savita Halappanavar, aged 31, due to septicaemia following a protracted miscarriage in Galway, Ireland.

It has been reported that Mrs Halappanavar repeatedly asked for her non-viable pregnancy to be medically terminated but this request was refused and she was told that Ireland is “a Catholic country”.  Mrs Halappanavar subsequently developed septicaemia and died.

The Secular Medical Forum believes that this death could have been prevented if Ireland’s law on abortion focused upon the need of vulnerable patients, rather than upon Catholic doctrine.  The SMF believes that healthcare should be provided free from the intrusion of religion.  Bioethics is hindered, not helped, by relying upon religious sentiments.

The SMF is aware that women around the world suffer due to the imposition of religious beliefs which takes away their autonomy over their own bodies.  If this case had occurred in the United Kingdom, it would have been legal for Mrs Halappanavar to have a safe abortion.  However in the UK there is the continual threat to abortion rights by religious groups who wish to inflict their particular beliefs upon other people.  The SMF defends the right of religious people to hold their beliefs; however, patients must remain free from unwelcome religious interference.

The SMF hopes that Ireland’s abortion laws are reformed so that this tragedy is not repeated.

More on this story from:




posted by Ed in Freedom from religion,News and have Comment (1)

SMF response to GMC consultation on Assisted Dying

SMF response to GMC Assisted Suicide consultation submitted 3rd May 2012


This document contains the response from the Secular Medical Forum to the General Medical Council’s consultation on assisted suicide.


posted by Ed in Freedom from religion,News and have No Comments

SMF response to court ruling against Tony Nicklinson

Today’s sad verdict leaves Tony Nicklinson with a terrible choice. Because other people regard his tortured life as somehow sacred, or are fearful of societal

consequences, he is forced to endure his suffering or take desperate measures to end it. With no hope now of a quick release, he must choose between this torment and the torment of allowing his family to stand by and watch him starve himself to death. The law is failing people both ends up. People who do not want to die are not protected from unscrupulous relatives whose motives for ending their life will only be questioned when the patient is already dead. Those people, like Tony, who tell us quite reasonably why they would like to end their unbearable misery are prevented from doing so.


posted by Ed in Freedom from religion,News,Opinion and have No Comments

Letter to Mrs Merkel to protect German children from ritual genital cutting

Dear Chancellor Merkel,

I am writing as chair of the Secular Medical Forum, based in the United Kingdom, which campaigns to protect people from the harmful imposition of other people’s beliefs.

We urge you to join us in offering our unreserved support for the recent Cologne district court ruling outlawing non-therapeutic infant male circumcision. Despite calls for condemnation of the ruling, especially from Jewish and Muslim organisations, we, and the Royal Dutch Medical Association believe the practice to be potentially harmful. More importantly, this ruling correctly places the welfare of vulnerable children above the unrestrained expression of adult beliefs… [read more]


Letter to Mrs Angela Merkel to protect German children from ritual genital cutting


posted by Ed in Freedom from religion,Genital mutilation,News and have No Comments

Dr Lempert discusses ritual circumcision on BBC1

BBC1 debate circumcision: Dr Antony Lempert

Following the recent German court ruling about infant circumcision, the SMF chair Dr Antony Lempert, was asked to debate whether or not infants  should be circumcised.

The debate is available to watch on BBC iPlayer and starts at 18 minutes 40 seconds:




posted by Ed in Freedom from religion,Genital mutilation,News and have No Comments