Medicine Doesn’t Just Have ‘Conscientious Objectors’ ? There Are ‘Conscientious Providers,’ Too

May 10, 2024

Clinician in scrubs sitting on the floor in the hospital hallway.

(The Conversation) – Moral injury is often associated with military veterans. It can also occur in health care, however, when providers are coerced to offer care that violates their conscience. In fact, moral injury plays an important role in a case now before the Supreme Court, in which doctors opposed to abortion argue that the availability of mifepristone, a drug used to induce abortion, could force them to participate in the procedure.

As a sociologist who works in bioethics, I am interested in the ways conscience influences caregiver decisions about whether to take part in certain services. There are legal protections for “conscientious objection,” but the role of conscience in health care is much richer and more complicated than these laws allow. In medicine there are both conscientious objectors and conscientious providers. (Read More)