St Cross Special Ethics Seminar 1

Date: Thursday, 18 November, 17:30 - 19:00
Venue: St Cross Room, St Cross College, St Giles, Oxford
Speaker: Dr Francesca Minerva (University of Bologna)
Title: Conscientious Objection in Medicine: what is wrong with a moderate approach?

Conscientious objection in medicine is the refusal, usually based on a religious ground, to perform a certain medical intervention even if it is legal, safe and beneficial. A doctor can refuse to (a) inform a patient about the available treatment (b) refer the patient to another colleague (c) perform the intervention/treatment. A moderate approach to this problem suggests that the best solution is to oblige the doctor just to refer the patient to a willing colleague. Two other alternative approaches suggest instead that (1) the doctor should never have the right to object or that (2) the doctor should have an absolute right to object. The moderate approach is generally considered the most balanced one. I will show through this paper that referring a patient to a willing colleague and refusing to personally practice a certain activity impose an almost unreasonable burden on the patient. I will therefore argue that, if we consider consequences for the patients, conscientious objection  is rarely morally justifiable even when it involves “just” the referral to another colleague.

Further details: All welcome, but booking is required. Talk is followed by drinks for all. Please email to reserve a place for the talk and for dinner afterwards

Resources: TBC

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