Conscientious Objection in Medicine

The Right of the Medical Professional or Withholding Due Care?


  • Hrvoje Vargić


Conscientious objection in medicine has been increasingly problematized in the recent public
and academic debates. Using the philosophical, medical, and legal analysis, the article addresses
the issue of objection of conscience in medicine in relation to the due care that the doctor is
obliged to provide to the patient. Due to the broad nature of the topic, the article focuses on
the issue of the relationship between conscientious objection and access to legal abortion. It
specifically examines whether performing abortions falls within the professional duties of a
physician and whether objection of conscience is an obstacle to the highest standard of health
care services. The article also analyses what are the obligations under international law for the
States to ensure access to legal abortion. Finally, conclusions are drawn that should inform the
regulation of conscientious objection.