Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

Conscience in the Practice of the Health Professions

The President's Council on Bioethics
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Session 3

Members of the Panel
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Anne Drapkin Lyerly , M.D.
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Duke University School of Medicine

Howard Brody , M.D. , Ph.D. John P. McGovern Centennial Chair in Family Medicine and Director, Institute for the Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch

Farr Curlin, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Associate, MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago

Council Chairman

Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D.
Georgetown University Medical Center

Members of the Council participating in discussion

Robert P. George, J.D., D.Phil.
Princeton University

Peter Augustine Lawler, Ph.D.
Berry College

Alfonso Gomez-Lobo, D.Phil.
Georgetown University

Janet D. Rowley, M.D.
University of Chicago

Paul McHugh, M.D.
Johns Hopkins Hospital

Benjamin S. Carson, M.D.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Rebecca S. Dresser, J.D., M.S.
Washington University

Donald W. Landry, M.D., Ph.D.
Columbia University

William B. Hurlburt, M.D.
Stanford University

Gilbert C. Meilaender, Ph.D.
Valparaiso University

Jean Beth Elshtain, Ph.D
University of Chicago

Opening Remarks

CHAIRMAN PELLEGRINO:   Thank you. Thank you members of the Council. You're here on time, and we'll begin on time. This afternoon we turn our attention to the question of conscience in the practice of the health professions, moving from the somewhat more conceptual and theoretical aspect to the actual difficulty and problem of conflict between conscience and the requirements of patients, society, et cetera, et cetera.

We're going to function as a modified panel, and I will introduce the members of the panel, and they will get an opportunity to speak in succession, and then following that members of the Council will participate in a discussion.

The members of the group are - beginning on my right, Dr. Farr Curlin , Assistant Professor of Medicine, Associate at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago .

Next is Dr. Howard Brody , John P. McGovern Centennial Chair in Family Medicine and Director of the Institute for the Medical Humanities at the University of Texas Medical branch, and Dr. Anne Drapkin Lyerly , Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, and Chair of the Ethics Committee at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. And Dr. Lyerly has asked us to point out that she is presenting on her own behalf and she is not representing the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology or its ethics committee.

I think we'll immediately move into the program by asking Dr. Lyerly if she would kick off the panel.  [. . . A.D. Lyerly]


The President's Council on Bioethics was appointed by President George W. Bush and operated from 2001 to 2009. 

Source: Archived transcript of the session.