Conscience absolutism via legislative amendment

West-Oram, Peter G N and Nunes, Jordanna A A (2021) Conscience absolutism via legislative amendment. Clinical Ethics. pp. 1-5. ISSN 1477-7509

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On 30 June 2021, Ohio state Governor, Mike DeWine, signed a Bill which would enact the state's budget for the next two years. In addition to its core funding imperatives, the Bill also contained an amendment significantly expanding entitlements of health care providers to conscientiously object to professional duties to provide controversial health care services. This amendment has been heavily criticised as providing the means to allow health care providers to discriminate against a wide range of persons by denying them access to often contested services such as abortion and contraception. In this paper, we examine the implications of this amendment and situate it in relation to other legislative actions intended to guarantee absolute rights to conscientious objection. In doing so, we argue that the entitlements extended to health care providers by these Bills are overly broad and ignore their potential to allow significant harm to be caused to clients. We then argue that if health care providers should have rights to conscientiously object (a question we do not try an answer here), then any legislation intended to protect such rights should be limited, specific, and parsimonious. Where it is not, the ideological liberty of HCPs treads dangerously on the physical freedom of their clients.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2021 09:08
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2021 09:31

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