Why medical professionals have no moral claim to conscientious objection accommodation in liberal democracies

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Abstract

We describe a number of conscientious objection cases in a liberal Western democracy. These cases strongly suggest that the typical conscientious objector does not object to unreasonable, controversial professional services—involving torture, for instance—but to the provision of professional services that are both uncontroversially legal and that patients are entitled to receive. We analyse the conflict between these patients' access rights and the conscientious objection accommodation demanded by monopoly providers of such healthcare services. It is implausible that professionals who voluntarily join a profession should be endowed with a legal claim not to provide services that are within the scope of the profession's practice and that society expects them to provide. We discuss common counterarguments to this view and reject all of them.

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