Authorities should bar doctors from refusing to provide such services as abortion and assisted death on moral grounds, and screen out potential medical students who might impose their values on patients, leading Canadian and British bioethicists argue in a provocative new commentary.
The paper by professors at Queen’s and Oxford universities, who are also editors of two major bioethics journals, throws rocket fuel onto a debate already inflamed by the new law allowing assisted death.
They argue that physicians have no right to opt out of lawful medical services — from abortion to prescribing contraceptives — that are requested by a patient and in the person’s interest.
Those who let conscientious objection affect patient care are clearly unprofessional, say Udo Schuklenk and Julian Savulescu.
“Doctors must put patients’ interests ahead of their own integrity,” they write in the journal Bioethics. . . [Full text]