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The Market View on conscientious objection: overvalued
  1. Robert F Card1,2
  1. 1 Department of Philosophy, State University of New York, Oswego, New York, USA
  2. 2 Department of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert F Card, Department of Medical Humanities, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY 14642, USA; robert.card7{at}


Ancell and Sinnott-Armstrong argue that medical providers possess wide freedoms to determine the scope of their practice, and therefore, prohibiting almost any conscientious objections is a bad idea. They maintain that we could create an acceptable system on the whole which even grants accommodations to discriminatory refusals by healthcare professionals. Their argument is premised upon applying a free market mechanism to conscientious objections in medicine, yet I argue their Market View possesses a number of absurd and troubling implications. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the fundamental logic of their main argument is flawed. Thinkers who wish to address the issues raised in this debate in general or by discriminatory conscience objections in particular should avoid the Market View and instead envisage theories that assess the reasons underlying conscientious refusals in medicine.

  • conscientious objection
  • philosophy of medicine
  • abortion
  • philosophy of the health professions
  • applied and professional ethics

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  • Contributors RFC conceived the arguments presented in this paper. RFC completed the writing in this paper. RFC is solely responsible for both the content and form of this article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There are no unpublished data related to this paper.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.