Conscience and conscientious objection in healthcare


Tuesday 5 Sep 2017

The ethical challenges posed by healthcare professionals who wish to be able to refuse to treat patients on the grounds of conscientious objections is the focus of an international conference.

Co-hosted by Charles Sturt University (CSU) and Macquarie University, the conference in Sydney on Monday 11 and Tuesday 12 September will hear from some of the world's leading philosophers and bioethicists.

International speakers include Dr Piers Benn from the University of London, Professor Carolyn McLeod from Western University (Ontario, Canada), and Professor Julian Savulescu from the University of Oxford.

Conference organiser and Dr Doug McConnell from the CSU School of Humanities and Social Sciences said, "Conscientious objection by healthcare professionals is one of the most important issues in healthcare ethics.

"Refusing to treat a patient or perform a medical procedure poses obvious problems for patients and limits their access to the care they are entitled to receive.

"This dilemma will only grow with medical advancements such as embryonic stem cell therapies, genetic selection, or human enhancement.

"The conference will look at a range of questions which arise from refusing treatment, and also discuss if any restrictions should be placed on conscientious objection by health professionals."

The conference is supported by CSU, an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant and Macquarie University's Research Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics.

A full list of speakers is available here.


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Media contact: Fiona Halloran , (02) 6933 2207

Media Note:

Conference co-organiser Dr Doug McConnell is in CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

He is based in Canberra. For interviews about the conference, contact Dr McConnell on email dmcconnell@csu.edu.au or mobile 0421 573 831.