In 2008 Esteban Rodriguez Martin became the first Spanish gynecologist to defend his right to conscientious objection in court. Three years later, he said he does not regret his "resounding no" to performing abortions even though he has had to pay a high price with his career.
Speaking with CNA on Aug. 31 in Rome, where he is attending an international conference, Rodriguez Martin said he has had to limit his work to assisting at births and treating women in their third trimesters because of his opposition to performing pre-natal tests often used by women to decide whether or not to obtain an abortion. "The better the prenatal diagnosis, the more abortions are performed," he explained.
"As a doctor, my mission is to protect life," he said. His request to be relieved of performing such tests was denied by hospital administrators.
"I have no other option than for a judge to rule on the conflict for the defense of a right as basic as that of freedom of conscience and of reason, which is the foundation of a democratic system, because otherwise we would be living in a dictatorship or a tyranny," Rodriguez Martin explained.