Conscientious objection in health care provision: a new dimension

West-Oram, Peter G N and Buyx, Alena (2016) Conscientious objection in health care provision: a new dimension. Bioethics, 30 (5). pp. 336-343. ISSN 0269-9702

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The right to conscientious objection in the provision of health care is the subject of a lengthy, heated and controversial debate. Recently, a new dimension was added to this debate by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby et al. which effectively granted rights to freedom of conscience to private, for-profit corporations. In light of this paradigm shift, we examine one of the most contentious points within this debate, the impact of granting conscience exemptions to health care providers on the ability of women to enjoy their rights to reproductive autonomy. We argue that the exemptions demanded by objecting health care providers cannot be justified on the liberal, pluralist grounds on which they are based, and impose unjustifiable costs on both individual persons, and society as a whole. In doing so, we draw attention to a worrying trend in health care policy in Europe and the United States to undermine women’s rights to reproductive autonomy by prioritising the rights of ideologically motivated service providers to an unjustifiably broad form of freedom of conscience.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Conscientious Objection Contraception Hobby Lobby Affordable Care Act Pluralism Reproductive Autonomy
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Depositing User: Peter West-Oram
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2018 13:16
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2018 13:16

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Emmy Noether Research Group grantUnsetDeutscheForschungsgemeinschaftBU 2450/1-2