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Public reason and the limited right to conscientious objection: a response to Magelssen
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  • Published on:
    Consciencentious objecton as a general right.
    • Tom Koch, Gerontologist, bioethicists. University of British Columbia, Vancouver: Alton Medical Centre, Toronto.

    There is a simpler way to conceive of this issue. Simply, modern bioethics emphasizes the right of choice by self-conscious, autonomous individuals. They have the right to request procedures, including physician-assisted termination, or to refuse procedures that even if beneficial seem to them unpalatable. Physicians have an obligation as physicians to the patients care. But they also have an equal right as citizens to refuse to take actions that seem to them unethical or immoral. To deny them this right but insist upon it as a right for all others is to create a unique category of persons with responsibility for care but without the right to exercise ethical judgments about the care they provide. This "professionalism" denies them the equal opportunity to exercise the right of all others as ethical persons in a situation where they have a legal and ethical professional responsibility to provide the best and most ethical care possible. Simply, creating a class of persons with responsibility but without ethical standing is unconscionable.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.

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