nounchiefly North American
A clause in a law providing for exemption or other allowances on the grounds of moral or religious conscience: Congress passed a ‘conscience clause’ bill, which permitted any individual or hospital opposed to abortion to refuse to perform the procedure
More example sentences
- One judge has suggested that a doctor who invokes the conscience clause should refer the patient to a colleague at once but he did not go so far as to decide that there was a legal duty to do so because that was not in issue in the case.
- Section 3 is a conscience clause, allowing anyone to opt out of the ‘medical procedure’ mentioned in section 1.
- Additionally the debate about reinstating the conscience clause, which would allow dioceses to refuse to ordain or recognize women clergy, has been resurrected.
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