Reproductive Health Services and the Law and Ethics of Conscientious Objection
Dickens, Bernard M.
Medicine and Law: World Association for Medical Law 2001; 20(2): 283-293
Reproductive health services address contraception, sterilization and abortion, and new technologies such as gamete selection and manipulation, in vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. Artificial fertility control and medically assisted reproduction are opposed by conservative religions and philosophies, whose adherents may object to participation. Physicians' conscientious objection to non-lifesaving interventions in pregnancy have long been accepted. Nurses' claims are less recognized, allowing nonparticipation in abortions but not refusal of patient preparation and aftercare. Objections of others in health-related activities, such as serving meals to abortion patients and typing abortion referral letters, have been disallowed. Pharmacists may claim refusal rights over fulfilling prescriptions for emergency (post-coital) contraceptives and drugs for medical (i.e. non-surgical) abortion. This paper addresses limits to conscientious objection to participation in reproductive health services, and conditions to which rights of objection may be subject. Individuals have human rights to freedom of religious conscience, but institutions, as artificial legal persons, may not claim this right.
Abortion; Conscience; Contraception; Drugs; Ethics; Freedom; Fertility; Health; Health Services; Human Rights; In Vitro Fertilization; Law; Nurses; Patients; Pharmacists; Physicians; Pregnancy; Reproduction; Reproductive Health Services; Rights; Sterilization; Religious Ethics; Patient Relationships; Reproduction / Reproductive Technologies;
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Dickens, Bernard M. (2006-09)This paper addresses laws and practices urged by conservative religious organizations that invoke conscientious objection in order to deny patients access to lawful procedures. Many are reproductive health services, such ...