The law and ethics of conscientious refusal
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The presentation will examine conflicts of conscience that arise between patients, healthcare providers, and institutions in the field of medicine, especially with regard to reproductive health and end-of-life care. More specifically, it considers "conscientious refusal"-a provider's exercise of his/her conscience in refusing to perform or participate in a procedure that is deemed ethically and legally permissible. It will give an overview of the history and development of legislative and court protections for conscientious refusals. It will identify ways in which existing legislation fails to advance its purported goals of protecting conscience, risks harm to patients, and destabilizes ethical decision-making within medicine itself. It will conclude with an assessment of future directions.