I recently attended a Seminar through work - it was around whether or not people should be able to Conscientiously Object to providing (or not providing) healthcare to patients. There were two professors giving their side of the coin and I found myself leaning towards the "No, it doesn't have a place" but, as you do, when I thought more on it I remain on the fence.

Edit: I blanked the below out, as I can't find any reference to what the Professor was talking about online - I don't want to misinform people, so ignore it. Kept it up for posterity, but it is likely inaccurate.

For example, in New Zealand currently (pending citation!) - we have some staff who object to providing healthcare for patients who have just undergone an abortion. The Hospital will shift rosters to make this doable and so the patients can still be taken care of. Legally, they are allowed to object and for the most part things continue as normal.

Another example however, is in rural New Zealand - often times in such isolated areas, a single Dr will provide healthcare for an entire catchment or town. If that Dr chose to, they could object from providing contraceptive options for patients, limiting that area's choices dramatically. There has been at least one reported example of this refusal happening.

On the other hand, should we be forcing people perform acts they deem incorrect from a moral standpoint? If they refuse based on a belief system, should we refuse their refusal and are they then being punished for holding their beliefs?

Obviously this question isn't just about NZ, but I wanted to see what other people thought of the idea of Conscientious Objection in Medicine. Was a fascinating Seminar and I could easily see the points of both sides.


A lot of people in my family are in healthcare and I put them on a pedestal for what they sacrifice. For that reason alone I’ll always look down on healthcare workers who can’t put aside their own feelings about somebodies personal history and provide care. It’s never been about life, it’s about judgement.

Not wanting to perform an abortion is one thing but to refuse to provide care for somebody because they just had an abortion is ridiculous. Would they refuse to care for somebody who needed medical attention due to a gunshot wound had that person started it by shooting/killing someone else ? Why isn’t this argument about not wanting to provide medical care to somebody who just literally killed a real autonomous person instead of a clump of cells ? Pro-birth people don’t have morals, they have a desire to pat themselves on the back. That kind of self-serving bs has no place in the health care industry.

posted by Foveaux: 295 days ago