A female bioethicist calls for a limit on conscientious objection in Italian hospitals

Publié le : 6 June 2014

 In an article published last May on the Journal of Medical Ethics’ website, bioethicist Francesca Minerva, who declared herself to be in favour of post-natal abortion in 2012, aired her views once again, calling for a limitation on the number of ‘”conscientious objectors” in Italian hospitals. 

According to the bioethicist, conscientious objection “prevents access to certain treatments“. To limit this, Francesca Minerva suggests that disincentives should be set up such as higher salaries for non-objectors or even “conscientious objector quotas” in hospitals.

Responding to this article, Oxford theologian and ethicist Roger Trigg emphasised the opposite, stressing that conscientious objection was a necessary part of the practice of medicine. Once we discount conscientious moral reasoning, “medicine is reduced to a technical issue about procedures, without any regard to their effect on the greater human good“. 
He added that, in the case of abortion, high rates of conscientious objection might indicate a need to reconsider the original policy: “one problem with abortion is that, for the most part, those making the political decisions are not those who have to implement the policy. If the latter object in sufficiently large numbers to make the policy hard to implement, that might be a reason for assuming there could be something wrong with what was being proposed“.

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