Navigation Links
Doctors who perform abortions are compelled by conscience, just like those who refuse
Date:9/13/2012

Ann Arbor, Mich. Exercising conscience in healthcare is usually defined as refusing to provide contested services, like abortion. But in an article to be published Sept. 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine, a University of Michigan faculty member says doctors can be "conscientious" providers of abortion.

Lisa Harris, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Health System, highlights both historical and contemporary evidence that conscience motivates abortion provision. She cites sociologist Carole Joffe's study that shows skilled mainstream doctors offered safe, compassionate care before Roe v. Wade, risking fines, imprisonment and loss of medical license.

"They did so because the beliefs that mattered most to them compelled it. They saw women die from self-inducted abortion and from abortions performed by unskilled providers," Harris writes.

Harris says contemporary abortion providers are motivated by conscience as well: "Though today abortion providers work within the law, they still have much to lose, facing stigma, marginalization within medicine, harassment and the threat of (or actual) physical harm..However doctors continue to offer abortion care because deeply-held, core ethical beliefs compel them."

There are legal, clinical and ethical consequences of the false dichotomization of conscience and abortion provision, she says. Harris writes that federal and state laws continue to protect only conscience-based refusals to perform or refer for abortion, offering minimal legal protection for conscience-based abortion provision.

In addition, equating conscience with only the refusal to perform abortion continues to stigmatize physicians who are abortion providers.

"If physicians who offer abortion don't have a legitimate claim to act in 'good conscience,' as do their counterparts who oppose abortion, then the implication is that they act in 'bad conscience' or lack conscience altogether," Harris writes.

Harris says bioethicists have focused on moral claims to refuse care provision, largely neglecting that, as she writes, "moral integrity can be injured as much by not performing an action required by one's core beliefs as by performing an action that contradicts those beliefs."

Harris acknowledges that those who oppose abortion will likely argue that abortion providers have motivations other than conscience. While she disagrees, she says this highlights the importance of distinguishing claims of conscience from other types of claims:

"Certainly, if abortion providers' conscience-based claims require scrutiny, so do conscience-based refusals, to ensure that refusals are indeed motivated by conscience and not by political beliefs, stigma, habit erroneous understanding of medical evidence or other factors."

In addition to calling for recognition of "conscientious provision" of care, Harris calls for a standard curriculum and a standard of care for conscientious refusals.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary F. Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Few Doctors Discuss Exercise With Cancer Patients: Study
2. Worlds largest meeting of ear, nose, and throat doctors
3. Doctors Who Self-Refer to Radiation Clinics Add to Patients Burden: Study
4. Many U.S. Doctors Have Symptoms of Burnout: Survey
5. With Very Sick Infants, Doctors and Parents Often Miscommunicate
6. Nurses as effective as doctors in treatment of HIV patients
7. Doctors can now detect hard-to-diagnose prostate cancer
8. Humanities mini-courses for doctors sharpen thinking and creativity
9. Doctors often dont disclose all possible risks to patients before treatment
10. In muscular dystrophy, what matters to patients and doctors can differ
11. Doctors Spar Over Cholesterol Screening in Kids
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... TopConsumerReviews.com recently awarded ... Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear ... a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet ... product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural ... two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn ... to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization ... selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern ... Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He ... Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online details ... to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only the ... and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) notes ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) today ... allow biopharmaceutical companies to more easily share health care ... coverage decisions, a move that addresses the growing need ... The recommendations address restrictions in the sharing of product ... a prohibition that hinders decision makers from accessing HCEI ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , June ... -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able to ... devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® , ... , can get any needed testing done in the comfort of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: