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Introduction to Conscientious Objection

Conscientious objection is the objection on the part of a person to deny performing a particular task based on his beliefs and conscientious. Initially, it was referred to as an individual refusing to join military services due to his beliefs or religion, but now the term Conscientious objection is also used in other fields. One such field is health care and medical services (Magelssen, 2019). Conscientious objection in terms of healthcare enables doctors, nurses, or pharmacists to deny doing specific duties as they find it against their belief and conscience (Nussbaum, 2019). There are proper laws for conscientious objection in countries like Austria, France, Australia, the United States, etc. For example, in Australia, the law suggests that if a woman seeks an abortion from a doctor who has conscientious objection in performing the procedure, he must timely refer the woman to some other appropriate medical practitioner who does not hold any conscientious objection in performing the abortion. Similarly, in the United States also such laws exist which further protects medical practitioners if they feel the hospital is forcing them to perform abortion or sterilization procedures (Selberg, 2019).

Discussion on Conscientious Objection

Many health professionals have objected to performing abortions, euthanasia, refused to advise and guide gay couples, single women, or others on how to have children. In many cases, it was found that pharmacist professionals also have objections in keeping contraceptive pills or abortion pills at their store. Many countries allow medical staff to opt for conscientious objection, provided that they inform such objections in time to the hospital and more importantly to the patient they are serving and must refer the patient to some other doctor who does not hold such conscientious objections The main aim of the medical practitioner is to provide care and treatment to the patients. Amid conscientious objection laws and reservations, it is the patient who suffers the most. If the doctor delays in conveying his objections in performing any procedure to patients, it may have negative repercussions on the patient's health. It is the sole responsibility of the doctor to avoid such a situation. Any objection in performing the duties towards a patient should not be given importance above the health of the patient. Patients must always be the primary concern of the doctor and hospitals (Wicclair, 2019).

A doctor must provide all possible solutions to a medical problem to the patient, including those against which the doctor holds conscientious objection. If the patient chooses to opt for any medical procedure against which the doctor holds objection, the doctor must refer the patient to other doctors who are ready to perform such procedures. Also, the doctors should not refuse treatment based on discrimination against gender, sexual orientation, religion, caste, or skin color. In some scenarios, conscientious objection may give rise to conflicts between personal beliefs and the wellbeing of a person. For example, in a case of a flu pandemic, nursing staff may restraint themselves from serving patients to protect themselves from catching the disease, or insufficient medical equipment in a hospital may force a doctor to think which patient to prefer for treatment and whom to be left (Fleming, 2019). These scenarios might arise due to conscientious objection, thus a doctor must realize his duties towards patient and society and must be capable of taking fair and legal decisions while having any conscientious objection.

The conscientious objection should be based on the unbiased rights of an individual and his responsibility towards society. This balance can be achieved by –

  • Proper care of every patient, irrespective of conscientious objection or personal beliefs of any medical staff
  • The strong commitment of medical practitioners towards their patients, even if they have a conscientious objection against any procedure. It is the responsibility of the doctor to provide ample options to the patient so that patient's health is not compromised (Lamb, et al, 2019).
  • In case of any conflict arising in referring patients to other practitioners, it should be taken care of that patient is given priority.
  • Conscientious objections should not supersede the life of any patient.

Laws protecting conscientious objections can be fair to patients also if they ensure some sufficient other doctors are ready to perform procedures like abortion so that those who have an objection to such procedures can be accommodated easily in society. If the patient's health is compromised or a doctor fails to keep the patient's interest as a priority due to conscience grounds, he or she should be punished properly (Card, 2019).

Conscientious objection within the medical obligation is defined as how there can be contextual refusal to perform and undergo the legal role or responsibility on account of the personal beliefs. In health care, the main problem of the conscientious objection would be due to the practitioners who would not be providing certain treatments and how these patients and parents not consenting in accepting the certain types of the children treatments (Autorino, 2019). It can be cited as the common clauses of the citing moral reasons, but as identified the main reason for the doctors refuse to perform or would not accept the ways to participate in abortions, is how there can be objections faced from the relatives or closed ones (Autorino, 2019). For example, some pharmacists would not fill prescriptions for RU-486 which is one of the “abortion pills," or would not accept to stock the emergency contraceptive levonorgestrel, that is also a consequent Plan B. There has been a growing number of parents who are also closely monitoring the ways of exempting concerning the state laws that can account to the immunizations and can be largely due to the personal or personal convictions.

Conscientious objection within the health care always can also indirectly affect else’s health or can obligate to care on account of the refusal interrupts which would be ascertained due to the delivery of health services. It is accounted for due to the conscientious objection in health care always that can be an obligation basis to the social dimension. Further, there can be framed solely that can be entitled to the issue of individual rights or beliefs. It is important for the parents’ decisions if at all, there is a peaceful way of vaccinating their children and can be obligated inline to the particular disease that can further increase as a result of risking such disease not with their specific own children but for the other children belonging to the community (Anderson, 2019).

It is important for most of the states, to include the “conscience clauses,” that can further be a guiding factor as a result of the right of refusal for physicians, and it is necessary to know how such cases. It is also important, to obligate with the other providers and include in the mainstream of the health care organizations that could focus on the religious hospitals. It is necessary to have such state laws, and also the similar obligations that would cover the conscience clauses in federal statutes and further can include how there would be professional codes of ethics along with holding the institutional policies, that can be enacted. As observed, how in the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973 though they have allowed permitting physicians that can opt-out of performing and also including the legalized abortions. Now it is in the best interest of the students to opt-out and also performs abortions that can follow the underline American Medical Association’s code of ethics. It is necessary to have the physician who would not undergo the abortions—an anesthesiologist, and it can be an important step for the refusal, to participate in the procedure (Fiala, 2014).

Due to some conscience clauses explicitly cover abortion it is also necessary to have the line of the contraception, sterilization, and also covering the withholding or withdrawing and it can be a likely cause of life-sustaining treatments (Nussbaum, 2019). Due to ascertaining such clauses that can cause the local conditions: It is important to obligate the physician’s right of refusal that can make it a consequent physician-assisted suicide that has been allowed in some of the legal states. It is also important to note how there would be an obligation inline to acknowledge a right of refusal on conscience grounds. It is also important to Conscience clauses that would be an obligation which would cause the FDA debate that would be Plan B, and it can be easily that would be over-the-counter access for women 18 and older. (such as how the medication is stocked over the counter, pharmacists that would be included the dispensing Plan B that can be obligated that would be patient that can be obligated inline to the adult. It is necessary that it can cause the age 17 or younger and it would further include the prescription to obtain Plan B that is a major cause in the pharmacy.)

To note how there can be pharmacists having a rightful claim in knowing how to treat the people and how to take on the emergency contraceptive and refuse with the complications over the consumer which can cause as a result of the pharmacist and it would be an obligation to take care of the staff or to another pharmacy (Selberg 2018). Such would be the practices how can it be a result the profession's guidelines and would be dependent on the “step away” procedure which can cause it as the individual pharmacist that can also substantially refuse as a result of the service which can be based on this pharmacist to block as a cause of the service. It is also necessary to note how there can be controversy, that can include the several states which would be adapted as a result of conscience clause statutes which is likely to be a cause to the protecting pharmacists, and it can be caused and can result to the legislation which would be inline to the individual providers who would not be hampering inline the consumer access and would be a result of the medically appropriate drug. It is also dependent on the type of professional refusal which can cause health care, and also how there can be sought “blanket recusals” that can be actively be involved as a case on account of the abortion petitions by minors(Wicclair, 2019).

Conclusion on Conscientious Objection

It is a huge responsibility being a medical practitioner as one has to keep a patient's health at topmost priority while keeping their personal beliefs intact. Conscientious objection gives the right to a doctor to deny a medical practice which they seem unethical. In healthcare, the major causes of the problems can be nonmedical exemptions which would involve the routine immunizations and it is accounted for the religious convictions focused on faith healing. But if the community, there is the resistance to vaccination and it would be a likeliness of preaching with the religious doctrine. It would be followed with strong personal beliefs and would cover the dangers of vaccines; that can make the childhood vaccines has more complications than the wellbeing. For example, the children with mitochondrial disorders that have also accounted to be seriously ill on account of the vaccination–one child has become autistic and has to die as a result of reinforced fears about immunization Proper laws and ethics should be constructed to safeguard every patient's health while protecting doctors' write to deny any medical procedure. If many doctors are willing to perform abortions or work in pandemic situations, then those doctors having a conscientious objection to it may be acceptable. The only thing to keep in mind is that any form of conscientious objection must not be given priority over a patient's health.

References for Conscientious Objection

Anderson, E., Bellamy, M., & Douglas, N. (2019). But that's not right, is it Miss? Colonization and conscientious objection through drama. Applied Theatre Research, 7(2), 251-262.

Autorino, T., Mattioli, F., & Mencarini, L. (2020). The impact of gynecologists’ conscientious objection on abortion access. Social Science Research, 102403.

Biggs, M. A., Casas, L., Ramm, A., Baba, C. F., & Correa, S. P. (2020). Medical and midwifery students’ views on the use of conscientious objection in abortion care, following legal reform in Chile: a cross-sectional study. BMC Medical Ethics, 21, 1-11.

Card, R. F. (2020). A New Theory of Conscientious Objection in Medicine: Justification and Reasonability. Routledge.

Fleming, V., Maxwell, C., & Ramsayer, B. (2020). Accommodating conscientious objection in the midwifery workforce: a ratio-data analysis of midwives, birth and late abortions in 18 European countries in 2016.

Fiala, C., & Arthur, J. H. (2014). “Dishonourable disobedience"–Why the refusal to treat in reproductive healthcare is not conscientious objection. Woman-psychosomatic gynecology and obstetrics, 1, 12-23.

Lamb, C., Evans, M., Babenko‐Mould, Y., Wong, C., & Kirkwood, K. (2019). Nurses’ use of conscientious objection and the implications for conscience. Journal of advanced nursing, 75(3), 594-602.

Magelssen, M., Le, N. Q., & Supphellen, M. (2019). Secularity, abortion, assisted dying and the future of conscientious objection: modelling the relationship between attitudes. BMC medical ethics, 20(1), 65.

Nussbaum, A. M. (2019). Alternatives to War Within Medicine: From Conscientious Objection to Nonviolent Conflict About Contested Medical Practices. Perspectives in biology and medicine, 62(3), 434-451.

Saad, T. C. (2019). Conscientious Objection and Clinical Judgement: The Right to Refuse to Harm. The New Bioethics, 25(3), 248-261.

Selberg, R. (2019). The midwife case and conscientious objection: new ways of framing abortion in Sweden. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 1-23.

Wicclair, M. R. (2019). Conscientious objection, moral integrity, and professional obligations. Perspectives in biology and medicine, 62(3), 543-559.

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