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Introduction to Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Healthcare

Introduction to Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Healthcare

Sample Answer 

Introduction to Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Healthcare

The term conscientious objection refers to the perception that healthcare organizations and providers can refrain from providing particular types of care services, especially those that do not conform to their personal/organizational values and beliefs (Savulescu, 2006). This is inclusive of medical care that would normally be viewed as medically appropriate. The notion of conscientious objection has always stemmed from the fact that physicians (and other care providers) have often prioritized their personal values during the delivery of healthcare. Typically, by virtue of their training, doctors have a greater understanding of the impacts of different types of medical interventions. This has created the belief among many physicians that they ought to make critical decisions about the therapies that are appropriate for patients. However, this perspective has been continuously rebuffed by the greater participation of patients in decisions regarding their health, as well as the idea of giving patients more autonomy. Several ethical considerations, both for and against conscientious objection, have been raised in the past, creating an ethical dilemma. This paper will specifically address some of the arguments supporting and rejecting conscientious objection.

One of the arguments against this conscientious objection is that it promotes inequality and inefficiency in healthcare. In one research study conducted in 2001 involving obstetricians and geneticists, approximately 80 percent of the participants acknowledged that abortion should only be allowed after 13 weeks if the mother requests it for reasons related to her career. Regardless, only 40 percent of the participants were ready to conduct it (Savulescu, 2006). The study also reported that the decision to take part in the pregnancy termination depended primarily on the physician’s values. This implies that patients must search for physicians willing to carry out the abortion (which is their right), creating resource wastage and inefficiency. This also means that patients that are not aware of their entitlement or rights might fail to get an abortion.

In addition, conscientious objection creates inconsistency in the delivery of care services. For example, a physician might refuse to attend to a patent aged 80 years since he/she thinks such an individual has lived a moral lifespan. Although this is a reasonable argument, it is widely unacceptable and inappropriate for a physician to knowingly refuse to deliver such critical services if the community has found that the elderly patient is entitled to medical services. Ethically and professionally, if such a decision to compromise a patient’s health should be justified, it needs to pose a greater risk to the welfare and health of the physical. Self-preservation and self-interest cannot be enough grounds to support the conscientious objection. The other reasons against conscientious objection are founded on the commitments of physicians and discrimination. When individuals pursue health-related career paths, such as gynecology, they must be prepared to face all the challenges and obey the profession’s rules (Lamb, 2016).

Despite the notion among opponents that conscientious objection promotes inconsistency, inequity, and inefficiency, there is the argument that refusing to do so constrains liberty and harms the well-being and health of physicians. Proponents of the concept argue that doctors’ beliefs, perceptions, values, welfare, and rights must be respected just the way patients are accorded their autonomy. If a majority of physicians are willing to carry out a medical procedure – such as abortion – there should be room to allow the minority that is not willing to opt out, whether on the basis of their religious beliefs or not.


Lamb, C. (2016). Conscientious objection: Understanding the right of conscience in health and healthcare practice. The New Bioethics, 33-44.

Savulescu, J. (2006). Conscientious objection in medicine. The BMJ, 332(7536), 294-297. doi: 10.1136/bmj.332.7536.294


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Introduction to Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Healthcare

Conscientious objection in health care settings is an ethical issue that is visited routinely. This entails care providers, and sometimes health care institutions, refusing to provide certain types of services or care to certain patients based on personal/organizational values, typically stemming from religious beliefs.

Introduction to Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Healthcare

Introduction to Ethical and Legal Perspectives in Healthcare

After reading the background materials and doing independent research, draft a paper that examines some of the ethical considerations surrounding conscientious objection in healthcare. Address this regarding objections both by individuals and organizations. Be sure to discuss specific ethical principles in your assessment.

SLP Assignment Expectations
Conduct additional research to gather sufficient information to support your analysis.

Limit your response to a maximum of 2 pages.

Support your proposal with peer-reviewed articles, and use at least 3 references. For additional information on how to recognize peer-reviewed journals, see
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