Conscientious Objection in Health Care: Pinning down the Reasonability View


McConnell, D., (2021), 'Conscientious Objection in Health Care: Pinning down the Reasonability View', The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy: A Forum for Bioethics and Philosophy of Medicine, Vol: 46(1): 37-57 [PMC7829616


Robert Card's "Reasonability View" is a significant contribution to the debate over the place of conscientious objection in health care. In his view, conscientious objections can only be accommodated if the grounds for the objection meet a reasonability standard. I identify inconsistencies in Card's description of the reasonability standard and argue that each version he specifies is unsatisfactory. The criteria for reasonability that Card sets out most frequently have no clear underpinning principle and are too permissive of immoral objections. Card has also claimed that petitioners must justify their positions with Rawlsian public reason. I argue that, although the resulting reasonability standard is principled, it is overly restrictive. I also show that a reasonability standard built on Rawls' more lenient conception of reasonableness would be overly permissive of objections at odds with professional healthcare standards. Finally, I argue for my favored solution, which bases the reasonability standard on minimal professional standards.


Read this chapter for free on Publisher website or Europe PMC.

This paper has been made Open Access under Wellcome Trust grant WT104848. For more Open Access papers on this grant, go to the Responsibility and Healthcare project webpage.

All OUCs Open Access papers are available on our Open Access webpage.