Secularizing Legislation May Extend to Hospitals, Other Public Institutions

February 6, 2004

Source: The Guardian,11882,1142313,00.html

On February 6, 2004 The Guardian reported, "As France's national assembly neared the end of a four-day debate on a ban on religious emblems in state schools, the prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, said 'similar legislation' was planned to stop hospital patients refusing to be treated by male doctors...Health administrators have reported cases of Muslim husbands who would rather their wives were denied treatment than be examined by a man. Women in labour have refused epidurals because the anaesthetist was male. The government is also considering a 'secularism charter' for other public institutions. These include town halls, where Muslim women must remove their veils for official ceremonies, and public swimming pools, where Muslim women have demanded segregated bathing."