Reasons, reasonability and establishing conscientious objector status in medicine.

Abstract:  This paper builds upon previous work in which I argue that we should assess a provider’s reasons for his or her objection before granting a conscientious exemption. For instance, if the medical professional’s reasoned basis involves an empirical mistake, an accommodation is not warranted. This article poses and begins to address several deep questions about the workings of what I call a reason-giving view: What standard should we use to assess reasons? What policy should we adopt in order to evaluate the reasons offered by medical practitioners in support of their objections? I argue for a reasonability standard to perform the essential function of assessing reasons, and I offer considerations in support of a policy establishing conscientious objector status in medicine.

Card RF.  Reasons, reasonability and establishing conscientious objector status in medicine.  J Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2016-103792

Conscientious objection by Muslim students startling

J Med Ethics November 2013 Vol. 39 No. 11

Michelle McLean

I read Robert Card’s recent paper entitled ‘Is there no alternative? Conscientious objection by medical students’ with great interest.1 That Muslim students in America are able to conscientiously object (and this was entertained) to the cross-gender consultation is somewhat startling. I have just left the Middle East, where I worked as a medical educator for five-and-a-half years (2006–2011), and, to the best of my knowledge, even in the conservative, gender-segregated traditional Muslim culture of the United Arab Emirates, not once did a male or female student refuse to examine a patient of the opposite sex.

Several issues, many of which have been described by Padela and del Pozo,2 should be taken into consideration in relation to Muslim students’ conscientious objection to the cross-gender consultation on religious grounds. Although Islam prohibits touching or physical contact by the opposite gender, unless appropriate (eg,  by a spouse), in some circumstances, the ‘prohibited becomes permissible’.3 Medicine is one such circumstance. Islam does not … [Full Text]

Conscientious objection by medical students

A paper published in the Journal of Medical Ethics argues that accommodation of freedom of conscience by exempting students from performing morally contested activities is not possible in at least some circumstances.  The example given is that of male Muslim students who are unwilling to perform physical examinations on female subjects.

Card, Robert F. Is there no alternative? Conscientious objection by medical students. Med Ethics doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100190