Testing conscientious objection by the norm of medicine

  • Toni C Saad, Gregory Jackson
  • Clinical Ethics, January 2018, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1477750917749952

Conscientious objection in medicine in relation to the restorative goal of medicine

What is it about?

We argue that conscientious objection is acceptable in medicine/healthcare if the procedure being refused is in itself not in accord with the goal of medicine which we identify as the restoration of health and the treatment of disease. If a procedure does not treat a disease or restore health, a doctor has a right to limit his practice and not take part if it is against his conscience.

Why is it important?

Conscientious objection is a current controversy in medicine which has wide implications for all health professionals and providers


Toni Saad
Cardiff University

The proposal is somewhat speculative and to be debated. It is not the strategy to argue for conscientious objection in medicine which others have chosen, and there are weaknesses to our theory. We nevertheless think it is important to raise the question of what health is, if only to show that we must stop to think about this concept further.

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