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Against the accommodation of subjective healthcare provider beliefs in medicine: counteracting supporters of conscientious objector accommodation arguments
  1. Ricardo Smalling,
  2. Udo Schuklenk
  1. Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Ricardo Smalling, Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada; Ricardo.Smalling{at}


We respond in this paper to various counter arguments advanced against our stance on conscientious objection accommodation. Contra Maclure and Dumont, we show that it is impossible to develop reliable tests for conscientious objectors' claims with regard to the reasonableness of the ideological basis of their convictions, and, indeed, with regard to whether they actually hold they views they claim to hold. We demonstrate furthermore that, within the Canadian legal context, the refusal to accommodate conscientious objectors would not constitute undue hardship for such objectors. We reject concerns that refusing to accommodate conscientious objectors would limit the equality of opportunity for budding professionals holding particular ideological positions. We also clarify various misrepresentations of our views by respondents Symons, Glick and Jotkowitz, and Lyus.

  • Conscientious Objection
  • Euthanasia
  • Abortion

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  • We are grateful to the authors of the responses published in this issue of the journal.

  • Twitter Follow Ricardo Smalling at @ricsmalling and Udo Schuklenk at @schuklenk

  • Contributors Both authors meet the ICMJE criteria for authorship.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.