November 30, 2022

Savulescu calls for ban on doctors’ conscientious objection

Does it lead to “bigoted, discriminatory medicine”?

As politicians in the Australian state of Queensland debate controversial abortion laws, Oxford’s Julian Savulescu is calling for a ban on “conscientious objection at the bedside”.

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday, Savulescu was quoted as saying:

“When a medical procedure, or one which doctors have a monopoly over, is desired by the patient, in the patient’s interests, and is a legal and reasonable use of limited resources, then that procedure ought to be provided by doctors…There is no place for conscientious objection at the bedside in these circumstances.”

In a provocative 2006 article in the BMJ, Savulescu argued that conscientious objection could lead to “bigoted, discriminatory medicine”, and that in some cases punitive measures should be taken against conscientious objectors.

The Australian bioethicist will deliver a lecture on the topic at Queensland University of Technology’s Australian Centre for Health Law Research this Tuesday, and will also present at a special workshop on conscientious objection on Friday at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. 

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Creative commons
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conscientious objection
julian savulescu