Conscientious Objection by Health Care Providers
Lahey Clinic Journal of Medical Ethics, Vol. 18, No. 1, Winter 2011
2 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2011 Last revised: 6 Nov 2013
Date Written: January 6, 2011
Conscience clauses are state and federal statutes and regulations that protect the rights of health care providers to decline to provide or participate in health services that violate their religious or moral beliefs. But for such legal protection a provider’s refusal of treatment could result in civil, criminal and/or disciplinary sanctions. Conscience clauses vary in strength and scope. But there is increasing consensus that the right of the provider to conscientiously object to the performance of health services must be balanced against the need to ensure patient access to those services. This brief article observes that two key components of this equilibrium are the duty to transfer and the duty to treat in emergency situations.
Keywords: conscience clauses, conscientious objection, health care providers, health law
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation