Physicians' Rights to Conscientious Objection

in Benjamin L. Berger and Richard Moon eds, Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority 127-147 (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2016)

22 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017

See all articles by Bruce Ryder

Bruce Ryder

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School

Date Written: June 16, 2016

Abstract

A consensus exists among Canadian medical associations that physicians have a right to object to providing health care services on conscientious grounds. Like all human rights, however, the right to conscientious objection is not absolute; it must be exercised in a manner that does not compromise patients' rights to equal and timely access to health care services. This means a physician cannot object to providing a service if the delay that would result from doing so would jeopardise a patient's life or health. Where conscientious objection can be exercised without threatening a patient's life or health, the physician has obligations to exercise the right to conscientious objection in a manner that respects patients' dignity, and provides them with the health care information and referrals necessary to ensure that they receive timely access to care.

Keywords: Human rights, freedom of conscience and religion, equality rights

Suggested Citation

Ryder, Bruce, Physicians' Rights to Conscientious Objection (June 16, 2016). in Benjamin L. Berger and Richard Moon eds, Religion and the Exercise of Public Authority 127-147 (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2016), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985658

Bruce Ryder (Contact Author)

York University - Osgoode Hall Law School ( email )

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3
Canada

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