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- DescriptionPhysicians in the United States who refuse to perform a variety of legally permissible medical services because of their own moral objections are often protected by conscience clauses. These laws, on the books in nearly every state since the legalization of abortion by Roe v. Wade, shield physicians and other health professionals from such potential consequences of refusal as liability and dismissal. While some praise conscience clauses as protecting important freedoms, opponents, concerned with patient access to care, argue that professional refusals should be tolerated only when they are based on valid medical grounds. In Conflicts of Conscience in Health Care, Holly Fernandez Lynch finds a way around the polarizing rhetoric associated with this issue by proposing a compromise that protects both a patient's access to care and a physician's ability to refuse. This focus on compromise is crucial, as new uses of medical techlogy expand the controversy beyond abortion and contraception to reach an increasing number of doctors and patients. Lynch argues that doctor-patient matching on the basis of personal moral values would eliminate, or at least minimize, many conflicts of conscience, and suggests that state licensing boards facilitate this goal. Licensing boards would be responsible for balancing the interests of doctors and patients by ensuring a sufficient number of willing physicians such that physician's refusal leaves a patient entirely without access to desired medical services. This proposed solution, Lynch argues, accommodates patients' freedoms while leaving important room in the profession for individuals who find some of the capabilities of medical techlogy to be ethically objectionable.
- Author BiographyHolly Fernandez Lynch is a bioethicist for the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, working under a contract with the Human Subjects Protection Branch at the Division of AIDS, within the National Institutes of Health, in Bethesda, MD.
- Author(s)Holly Fernandez Lynch
- PublisherMIT Press Ltd
- Date of Publication10/09/2010
- SubjectMedicine: General
- Series TitleBasic Bioethics
- Place of PublicationCambridge, Mass.
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintMIT Press
- Weight499 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine15 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US)
- Interest AgeFrom 18
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