Conscientious Objection in Healthcare, the Priority Thesis and the Conditional Compatibility Thesis
Steve Clarke (Charles Sturt University, Oxford University)

November 1, 2019, 2:30pm - 4:00pm
School of Philosophical, Historical, and International Studies, Monash University

E561, fifth floor
Menzies Building, Monash University
Clayton 3800


Monash University


Abstract: An influential minority of bioethicists working on conscientious objection in healthcare have been identified as advocates of the ‘incompatibility thesis’ – the thesis that conscientious objections should never be accommodated in healthcare. They include Julian Savulescu, Udo Schuklenk, Alberto Giubilini and Julie Cantor. I’ll argue that none of the arguments these authors provide are sufficient to warrant the incompatibility thesis. Rather the arguments provided support a ‘priority thesis’, which has it that healthcare professionals should always prioritize healthcare service provision over the demands of their consciences. I’ll then show that the priority thesis is compatible with the accommodation of conscientious objections in healthcare in several contexts.

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