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Non-accommodationism and conscientious objection in healthcare: a response to Robinson
  1. Steve Clarke1,2
  1. 1 School of Social Work and Arts, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities and Oxford Uehiro Centre, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steve Clarke, Institute for Science and Ethics, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 1PT, UK; stephen.clarke{at}


Michael Robinson takes issue with an ‘argument from voluntariness’ made by several opponents of current practices for managing conscientious objection (CO) in healthcare, including Cantor, Stahl and Emanuel, and Schuklenk, whom he characterises as ‘non-accommodationists’. Here I argue that while Robinson is right to oppose the argument from voluntariness, he misunderstands current arrangements for managing CO in healthcare, and he misses the force of the non-accommodationist case against those arrangements. I also argue that despite what he says, Robinson is as much a proponent of reform of the management of CO in healthcare as are his non-accommodationist opponents. Additionally, I raise a concern about Robinson’s preferred approach to managing CO in healthcare.

  • Conscientious Refusal to Treat
  • Ethics- Medical
  • Policy

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  • Contributors This work has been produced by SC without help from other contributors.

  • Funding This study was funded by Australian Research Council (DP190101597).

  • Competing interests None declared.

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

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