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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Monday, October 24, 2016

Should doctors have the legal right to refuse care?

By Lisa Rapaport
Reuters Health
Originally published October 5, 2016

Physicians shouldn’t have the legal right to act as conscientious objectors and refuse to provide services like abortion or assisted suicide even when these things conflict with their personal values, some doctors argue.

That’s because access to care should take priority, and conscientious objectors may make it more difficult for patients to get treatment they need, Dr. Julian Savulescu of the University of Oxford in the U.K. and Udo Schuklenk of Queens University in Ontario, Canada, argue in an article in the journal Bioethics.

They make their case as a growing number of countries worldwide are grappling with how much autonomy to give patients and doctors to make decisions about care at the very beginning and end of life, particularly in an era when new technology and social media keep pushing the boundaries of long-held personal and religious beliefs.

The article is here.